Six years in the making, Google’s self-driving vehicle is an impressive feat but still needs some improvement before it is ready for the public. Recently, the company held a test drive event for press to witness exactly what this vehicle can do.
The prototype’s appearance may be lackluster, but this helps put the focus on the product’s talents. Compared to the sleek and aerodynamic structure of luxury vehicles today, this little, two-seater resembles more of a Roomba (it sounds like one too). It makes it difficult to see how this a visionary example of the future, but let’s go over the details to see what exactly this guy can do.
With the use of camera, radars and laser sensors, the vehicle can effortlessly avoid colliding with other vehicles and people. During the trial event, passengers entered into the car and found no steering wheel or pedals. Instead, they pressed the “Go” button, and from there the car did the rest of the work. Though the car maxed out at 15 mph, it went through a series of tests avoiding obstacles.
First, a Google worker stepped in front of the vehicle, and it slowed down and allowed him to pass before continuing on. Next, another vehicle rode up alongside the Google car, and it proceeded to slow down to make sure they did not collide. A bicycler did something similar and again, the car slowed. Though all the reactions were the same, the car can analyze exactly what is around it.
The project’s chief engineer commented, “We look at the world around us, and we detect objects in the scene, we categorize them as different types.”
Perhaps, many were looking for something more eye-catching or something to make them gasp, but this technology is still impressive and ahead of all the competition. Other automakers’ focus has not been on the car as a whole but only on safety features such as automatic braking.
Four years from now, Google hopes to have perfected the self-driving vehicle and to be selling it to the masses.
Though there have been no definite plans, most believe Google will sell their software instead of manufacturing their own cars. Unfortunately, we have some time to wait but when it’s ready, it will be just another ground-breaking innovation from Google.
Info courtesy of Wired.