After completing one million autonomous miles of test, Google autonomous cars will be taking to the streets around the Mountain View area of California, home to Google headquarters.
Public safety regulations are limiting the cars at at a drive speed of 25 miles per hour so far. And safety drivers will also be accompanying the pods equipped with removable safety devices such as a steering wheel and pedals. However, it is hopped that there won’t be much need for intervention.
The new model of Google’s self-driving car displays a resemblance to Smart cars, only it has a black bowler that hides its sensors. Otherwise, it is a two-seated pod that can drive and break without assistance. It is capable of recognizing road hazards and will be seen in areas that have been mapped by Google previously.
At this point, the self-driving car needs recharging after 80 miles and lacks airbags. Starting this summer, 25 Google autonomous cars will be tested on California roads, with another 50 to 100 planned to be developed to chart different routes with different degrees of risks.
Since 2010 when Google disclosed the intention to build technology that allows autonomous driving, its prototypes have constantly evolved. However, the company insists that it doesn’t aim to join the ranks of car-making industry. Google’s purpose is to provide advanced technological insight to automakers.
The wide array of benefits that the implementation of autonomous driving technology would bring to the public is invaluable. Just imagine its application in traffic congestion relief. Or, to look at the more human side, the transport of elderly or disabled persons. One of the biggest advantages is reducing the human error factor that causes 90 percent of the 1.2 million road deaths worldwide on a yearly basis.
At this point, the pods are a long way from becoming available to the general populations. Many factors still need to be tested and fully autonomous car fleets for consumers are probably a few years away. Carefully assessing the technology and how safe it is for people ranks ranks high now so that it will be widely made available in the future.
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