Google Autonomous Electric Car Prototype Unveiled

Google had unveiled its autonomous car (that's a self-driving car) prototype, and it looks cute - by design. Take a look at the video.

(Google self-driving car prototype video)

The car is all-electric and is capable of a top speed of just 25 miles per hour. The intent is to make 100-200 of the cars this year.

Ever since we started the Google self-driving car project, we’ve been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving. Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History.

We’re now exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like by building some prototypes; they’ll be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work. The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible—but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.

Although there are plenty of examples of autonomous cars in science fiction, this little Google self-driving car reminds most of this vehicle from Larry Niven's 1976 novel World Out of Time:

She gestured him ahead of her, toward a bubble-car like those he had found in One City.

Mirelly-Lyra gestured to him to slide over... and climbed in beside him. She bent to the console, hesitated, then punched in numbers. "We go for your pressure suit," said the translator at her belt.

The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering. Already, Corbell knew that he could not return by car. He didn't know the destination number of the house.

Down the hill and into a narrow valley the car drove, accelerating.
(Read more about Larry Niven's bubble car)

Via Designing a self-driving vehicle - Google blog.

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