We’ve all heard about Google’s self driving cars, but the company recently took one step closer to creating a mass consumer automotive that has no need for human control. Earlier this week Google unveiled its latest self driving car prototype and it ditches the parts that we’re all used to, like steering wheels, accelerator pedals, brake pedals and more. Why? Because Google thinks they’re no longer necessary.
“Our software sensors do all the work,” Google’s director of the self driving car project Chris Urmson said. “The vehicles will be basic – we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible – but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that’s an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.”
The company envisions self driving cars being useful for everyone from senior citizens to folks who have imbibed too much at the bar. The most recent prototypes cap out at 25mph, so you won’t see them flying down the highway anytime soon, though that might not be too far off.
The vehicles are outfitted with sensors that are capable of viewing up to about 200 yards in all directions, which Urmson said should be helpful in places like crowded intersections. The interiors are also super basic: there’s room for two passengers and there are two buttons, one to start the car and one to stop it, in addition to a single screen.
Google has big plans for the project. “We’re planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls,” Urmson explained. Later, Google wants to launch a California pilot program, hopefully to get the public involved. This is a future we can get on board with.