Tired of gridlock, traffic, and other car-related troubles? Wish there was an easier way to go about getting things taken care of on the road? Well, Google has been working on a solution for just that. Not only would it have implications for daily drivers and commuters, but it could have an impact on transport in general – auto transport, cargo hauling, and more!
For a few years now Google has worked on improving their driver less systems and has come quite a way from their first forays involving the DARPA challenge.
For the past four years, Google has been working on self-driving cars with a mechanism to return control of the steering wheel to the driver in case of emergency. But Google’s brightest minds now say they can’t make that handoff work anytime soon.
Their answer? Take the driver completely out of the driving.
The company has begun building a fleet of 100 experimental electric-powered vehicles that will dispense with all the standard controls found in modern automobiles. The two-seat vehicle looks a bit like the ultracompact Fiat 500 or the Mercedes-Benz Smart car if you take out the steering wheel, gas pedal, brake and gear shift. The only things the driver controls is a red “e-stop” button for panic stops and a separate start button.
Google’s prototype for its new cars will limit them to a top speed of 25 miles per hour. The cars are intended for driving in urban and suburban settings, not on highways. The low speed will probably keep the cars out of more restrictive regulatory categories for vehicles, giving them more design flexibility.
Google is having 100 cars built by a manufacturer in the Detroit area, which it declined to name. Nor would it say how much the prototype vehicles cost. They will have a range of about 100 miles, powered by an electric motor that is roughly equivalent to the one used by Fiat’s 500e, Dr. Urmson said. They should be road-ready by early next year, Google said.
Information from NYTimes.com.
Exciting to think that within one year you could be inside a car where you are no longer the driver – just a passenger! Here in the US this could be a real change to the way transport is done.