It’s no secret that Google has been hard at work on a completely autonomous car. Last week, the cute little self-driving car was revealed to the public. The Google car doesn’t require a steering wheel or pedals, since it drives itself with sensors and computers. The only driving controls are buttons to go and stop. Simply program your destination, and you’re off.
Google has already logged hundreds of thousands of miles in California with Lexus SUVs and Toyota Prius’ equipped with similar sensors and computers in their exploration of the idea. In testing these cars, Google-employed “safety drivers” were always behind the wheel in case of an emergency. Prototyping their own vehicle from the ground up was a natural next step – and these cars will eliminate the need to have a driver behind the wheel.
Until the technology is perfected, California regulations require the Google car prototypes have a steering wheel and pedals, and they can’t be sold publicly. According to an AOL Autos article, Google hopes that next year by this time, 100 prototypes will be cruising public roads as a ‘pilot program’. Currently restricted at a maximum speed of 25 mph, the cars are best suited for congested downtown areas or a corporate campus.
Self-driving cars are likely to be a reality in the years to come, as the technology already exists. The biggest obstacle right now is the law.
What do you think? Are self-driving cars the wave of the future, or major faux-pas?