Google announced yesterday that they will be releasing their self-produced automated cars into Mountain View, California, this summer with the intention of studying the community’s reaction to the vehicles.
Chris Urmson, director of the Google self-driving car project, writes on the official Google blog:
“When we started designing the world’s first fully self-driving vehicle, our goal was a vehicle that could shoulder the entire burden of driving.”
The new batch of 25 cars was created by Google and has only been driven in test facilities. This summer will show if Google can make the software for a self-driving car, as well as the car itself.
The team working on the Google X project had so far only analyzed the capabilities and limitations of Lexus’s self-driving RX450h SUVs before going on to produce their own automated cars.
Susan Shaheen, co-director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center at the University of Berkeley, said:
“It’s an important step in that it is their own vehicle.
“Google X works on innovation and disruption, and I think the automated vehicle has a lot of those features.”
The Car’s Look and Drive
The vehicle, which is still unnamed, looks like something out of “The Jetsons” and has a top speed limitation of 25 mph. This summer, safety drivers will be present in the car as it tucks and turns through Mountain View, and in the event that the car will need to be taken over, Google X has created a detachable steering wheel and pedal for drivers to use.
“In the coming years, we’d like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this.” said Urmson.
What would most people like to do? Nothing sounds nice.