Google is all set to test its newest self-driving cars. The bubble-like cars will get to travel around Mountain view, California, which is the company’s birthplace. The cars will have a driver with access to the steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brakes to take over in case of any adverse situation. These self-driving vehicles will be following a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Google has not been very clear regarding the number of prototypes leaving the controlled test environments and hit the road. One thing that is certain, however, is that there will be a few, and they will be hitting the road this summer. The unique thing about this batch of self-driving vehicles is that they have been built by Google from scratch, unlike the Lexus cars that simply had the self-driving mechanism installed in them.
As mentioned earlier, the self-driving cars will have a driver to supervise and take over the wheel if need be. This has led to some questions and concerns in the general public about the information and reliability of these automobiles. . It is although understandable that this is all for the safety of the people themselves; prevention is better than cure, after all.
This fresh batch of self-driving vehicles will not be the first one by Google which makes it to general transportation roads. Google’s self-driving Lexus has already made it to road trials, and several reports indicate that it has already been in some accidents. Google has responded to these reports by acknowledging the fact that there have been 11 minor incidents with the self-driving cars involved. However, the company has maintained that there were no injuries and that these accidents were in no way the fault of the self-driving vehicles. The company instead states plainly that some accidents are meant to take place no matter what the precautions.
Google’s take on the matter
Google has been very actively updating the masses on the progress of the self-driving cars’ project. The company’s Google+ page has been getting some serious following owing to the information it has been providing the people with. Chris Urmson, director of the business’s self-driving car program, wrote the following in his blog post on Monday:
“Even when our software and sensors can detect a sticky situation and take action earlier and faster than an alert human driver, sometimes we won’t be able to overcome the realities of speed and distance; sometimes we’ll get hit just waiting for a light to change, and that’s important context for communities with self-driving cars on their streets; although we wish we could avoid all accidents, some will be unavoidable.”
The Lexus batch of Google’s self-driving cars has already traveled 1 million kilometers and according to the company, all the data from those drives has been carefully analyzed to make improvements to this batch of bubble cars. All of these self-driving cars have been thoroughly tested in test facilities to ensure that each and every component of the self-driving mechanism is working appropriately. Google spokeswoman Jacquelyn Miller has stated Google’s three primary goals regarding these self-driving cars have been:
- To develop the self-driving cars from scratch and test them this summer on public roads. A batch of 25 cars is present at the moment to take the roads.
- To make the self-driving cars travel a least 10,000 miles inside the city and use this data to make continual improvements to the self-driving mechanism.
- To prepare the self-driving cars for the most rare conditions, one can ever aspire to face on the road.
Miller also added, “We’ve had 20+ Lexus vehicles driving on Mountain View city streets for the last few years, but the arrival of our new self-driving vehicle prototypes marks the start of a new phase of our project”.
Is this the future of automobile industry?
Self-driving cars, although are still restricted to testing facilities mostly and are not an ordinary site but many companies, are in the race of producing the perfect self-driving car. CEOs of many companies, have the time and again mentioned their belief in the self-driving car concept to be the future of automobile industry. Some of these have already been working on their prototypes, and some have already gotten to the testing phase. Some of these even believe that the self-driving car will be able to handle city driving by 2020 although it will first need to master the highway driving. With many leading car manufacturers striving to win the race, Google is up for a lot of close inspection and critique.
Even though the future of automobile industry looks immensely promising, a significant amount of work is still needed in this field. The self-driving cars, although road intelligent, need to be very, very precise as precious human lives are at the stake. The sensors and other equipment can falter all of a sudden which is a primary concern hindering the commercial production of the self-driving cars. Moreover, while the self-driving cars can be programmed to “think” logically, human instincts can get a little dodgy when near such an automobile out of fear or sheer excitement.
The future is always uncertain and with all the technological happenings all around the world it is very difficult to predict with surety, the future of these robocars. One thing, however, is for sure; Google is very ambitious and aims at continuing the project further as is very clear by the self-designing of these prototypes. Google may be a tech company, but it has indeed set foot in the automobile industry with the production of these self-driving cars. If the concept is materialized, it will bring a revolution in the car industry and the way we travel. Moreover, it will also aid people who have previously only dreamt of getting from one place to another independently.