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Google driverless car ditches brake pedal and steering wheel

Google reveals own brand two-seater autonomous vehicle that has a very different way of getting from A to B.

Advertising and search engine giant Google has demonstrated its own brand interpretation of the driverless – aka autonomous – car. The plan is to build 100 units for testing. If all goes to plan, it could become the car you drive in the future. Or not drive, as it were.

Google driverless car
Google driverless car

The Google driverless car uses a unique platform, rather than one borrowd from a manufacturer. The two-seater prototype looks a bit like a giant toy, thanks to the front end having two eyes, a black nose and a slightly terrified smile.

The car reportedly has no brake pedals, no steering wheel and just two seats. It’s just you, a passenger and an emergency stop button. There’s also a display that lets you select and view the route.

The test versions for use on public roads will have manual controls as a precaution. Google did admit, however, that taking out conventional controls works out better, as sudden human intervention can be unpredictable and potentially unsafe. “We saw stuff that made us a little nervous,” Google director of the self-driving car project said to the New York Times.

On top of the vehicle is a clever sensor module that can detect obstacles as far as “two football fields” away. In a car limited to 25mph that seems like plenty, but it’s the speed at which obstacles can come out of nowhere that will likely prove to be the biggest test.

“We’re now developing prototypes of vehicles that have been designed from the ground up to drive themselves—just push a button and they’ll take you where you want to go! We’ll use these vehicles to test our software and learn what it will really take to bring this technology into the world,” Google said in the description of its YouTube video titled ‘A First Drive’.

Trials of the 100 prototype test cars will begin within the next two years in California.

Two years is a long time, admittedly, but many modern cars already feature most of the ingredients found in autonomous cars — including lane keep assist, automatic braking and adaptive cruise control.

Google is also working on installing its technology into pre-existing cars. 

Check out the Google Self-Drive Google+ page if you want to see what progress is being made.

Google driverless car video

 

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