It’s a well known fact that Google has been working on autonomous self driving cars for well over a few years now and people have been craving to see them in actual action so we recently got to see a glimpse of what they’re like when Google displayed its batch of self driving autonomous Lexus SUVs to the public and the press. The representatives of Google also mentioned that this project was being worked on for more than five years and along with this they also gave a good overview of the research and accomplishments thus far.
The basic demonstration involved two people getting into the self driving car and it seemed that they had had a smartphone in their hands with an app installed which they used to tell the car where their destination is. After they directed the car to their destination with the app then it automatically (as expected) took them to their assigned destination and then automatically stopped. However, during the test drive the self driving car seemed to display one shortfall. The shortfall was that passengers couldn’t just change their path mid-way through their journey so if any passenger had to change their route mid-way then they’d have to instruct the car to stop and then they’d assign a new route to it which can be quite a hassle.
The Google Self Driving Car lives up to its name as a truly driverless car since there were absolutely no controls in the car. Nothing you’d see in an ordinary car such as no steering wheels, no acceleration pedal, no break peddle and no gear handle so basically the only control you’ll have over your car is through the smartphone app and other than that you can’t control the car manually no matter what the circumstances. Google did mention that it was considering allowing passengers to seize control of the car during some emergency situations but decided against adding such a feature since it will just end up increasing the danger risk both to the car and its passengers.
Google has set the current speed of the Self Driving Car to go up to a maximum of 25 miles per hour and along with this the lead test driver for Google’s Self Driving Car, Brain Torcelleni, said that “We’re all about safety and realize that everything we do is about upholding the reputation of this technology. Many people are confused as to how the Google Self Driving Car knows about what roads to take, where a destination is, where any turns are and other similar things. The Self Driving car has Google’s high detail maps software hardwired into its system. The Google maps software that is built into the Self Driving Car is so in-depth that it details every single relevant thing such as stop signs, traffic lights, one way signs and other similar things and as for current traffic the car has sensors built into it that detect traffic and similar things for up to 600 ft. The car knows its own position thanks to a Global Positioning Satellite feed provided by Google’s own software.
Google has stated that they plan to have up to a 100 prototypes of the self-driving car and have them on public roads by the end of summer 2014. For the people who are curious on when they’ll be actually able to purchase these cars, it has been mentioned that they’ll be available for public purchase at some time during the year of 2015 and will only be available to the public where the law permits. Up until now there are only four states that have allowed the testing of self driving cars on public roads and these are California, Nevada, Michigan and Florida.
As a closing statement, a Google representative stated that “This is not an evolution of the car, but a revolution”.