Self-driving cars: A glimpse into the (very near) future

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We’ve always been given delusions of grandeur regarding vehicles of the future. Cosmic imaginations featured on the Jetsons and even very recent concept models produced by the world’s largest car manufacturers remain the subject of want although the end result often fails to deliver.

 

This is all set to change however. Google – arguably one of the world’s most powerful technology firms – has pumped millions into projects centred on autonomous driving and this Tuesday announced a new prototype. The difference here is that this concept has been slotted for production by the end of 2015. Asides from Google+ there is very little that Google has invested in which doesn’t prove to be a success!

 

Google-self-drive-car

 

 

So what makes this car unique? Well for starters it has no steering wheel, accelerator or brake pedal! The car itself simply has a ‘go’ button and an emergency stop just in case the ‘driver’ fails at the job. It is the first driverless electric vehicle that Google have built to test the next stage of its enormous project (which began in 2008). The car itself resembles a dinky SMART car which began turning heads at the end of the 90s/early noughties thanks to its unique shape and revolutionary colour way customisation options.

 

Google-self-drive-prototype

 

 

The car is incredible in respect of the technology that it embraces. The driver (or passenger in this case) summons the vehicle from their mobile device to a their location and drops them off at the post code or place of interest provided. In essence it is a revolution of the taxi service ferrying customers to locations with the big difference being that no driver is on-board for the journey.

 

Google-self-drive-interior

 

 

Google – understandably – has been very coy as to providing details of the vehicle but it has emerged that it has been built in a Detroit factory and involved Google building it from scratch. The car’s look has occurred in order to prevent sensor blockages or blind spots. It has a reported 100 mile range and constantly takes in surroundings with a 360 degree view and adjusts movements accordingly. The car uses GPS as its technological mainframe akin to the system used in everyday vehicles and combines this with superior sensors far beyond what is currently available on the automotive market.

 

These developments are a massive step towards seeing automated cars on the road but it is still fraught with issues. Firstly there are many legal obstacles that Google must overcome before it can even consider introducing these vehicles onto Britain’s roads. Also, who would be at fault for accidents? Google or the ‘passenger’? What about safety? Google have provided seatbelts and an emergency stop button but is this enough?

 

Total-Recall-Taxi

 

I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen something very similar in the past and that didn’t work out well! Okay it was an 80s movie but that’s besides the point!

 

Would you want to ride in one of these? Let us know on Twitter by using the hashtag #trents and posting your thoughts.

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