Google have finally taken the plunge and announced they will be building their own self-driving cars, rather than attempting to adapt existing machinery to be self-sufficient. It makes sense, after testing out the viability of the concept, to then start from the ground up and create a new vehicle. The design is a bit bubble car, but if it serves the purpose, there’s always room for improvement on that front.
Reportedly, there’s no steering wheel or other controls except for a button to start and stop, because hey, that’s all you need!
I have mixed feelings on the self-driving car idea. On the one hand, it’s brilliant and genius and would be a great way to get from one place to the other. On the other hand, once you take away the actual driving part of getting from A to B, it’s something akin to public transport, and it feels like there would be so many more benefits in making buses, trains and trams so much better.
But it’s not like the self-driving cars are taking over. Google are just making their prototype and hoping to gradually improve the technology. The car apparently has “a soft foam-like material where a traditional bumper would be, and a more flexible windscreen” all in an attempt to reduce injuries. That’s not worrying at all! Early versions of the car have plug in controls for a real live human being to take over, and they’re limited to 25 miles per hour as well.
Even with the miles and miles of testing that Google have done, and the seemingly slow and steady path they are taking with these cars, I don’t think it’s going to be an easy road for them to make it a more public concept. Having said that, Google reckon the cars will be on the road within the year, and they’re right more often than I am.