Google To Launch Self-Driving Cars
The self-driving car. Sounds like something out of a sci-fi film, doesn’t it?
Well, no longer is that the case… Google is launching its own. No controls, steering wheel or pedals.
Us here at Eat More Cake are ridiculously excited for the self-driving car, and we’re going to tell you what it’s all about.
What’s the deal?
The car will have a stop-go button, and that’s about it. It will have an electric propulsion, seat two people and at first will be limited to 25mph to make sure it is safe. The safety of the car will be enhanced with a soft material in place of a traditional bumper, and a flexible windscreen.
Google aims to create a more pedestrian-friendly car. The BBC has said that the car has a “friendly face” and looks “almost like a cartoon”. This is so that people find it less threatening and accept self-driving technology, which could appear unreliable to those who know little about it.
In order to drive without user control, the car will contain a combination of radar and laser sensors, and camera data. It will use Google’s new road maps built specifically for the vehicles, and whilst in testing extra controls will be fitted so testers can take over if there is a problem.
When will we get them?
Google has announced that the cars should be ready within a year, however, as they have only just unveiled the prototype, the vehicle is still in its very early stages. Apparently the cars have already covered 700,000 miles of public roads in autonomous (self-driving) mode. But the next challenge is tackling busy roads.
The company’s vision is not to replace the ones we use everyday. They are designed to be more like shared vehicles, such as taxis or within a family. It is believed that they are about five years away from being ready enough to release on a non-prototype basis.
A number of researchers have claimed that there may be downsides to this kind of technology. They say that traffic congestion and urban sprawl may become worse, because people may want to travel further by car as they do not have to drive themselves.
Other experts have said that they may be dangerous, as extreme situations may still require the input of humans, and if there are no controls, this may make accidents fatal. It has also been claimed that people may forget how to operate their vehicles if they do not use normal controls regularly. Some have equated it to people who drive automatics forgetting how to control a manual car.
However, in my opinion the potential benefits are likely to outweigh the problems. After all, Google are not going to release the car fully until they have dealt with these issues.
Many experts have claimed that autonomous cars have the potential to completely revolutionise transport by preventing accidents, making roads safer and decreasing congestion and pollution. Some have said that the number of accidents, which was at more than 23,500 in the year to June 2013, could be reduced by removing the chance of driver error.
We’re just excited to see what comes of this autonomous technology in the years ahead. Watch this space!
What do you think of self-driving cars? Let us know in the comments below.