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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Google's New Self-Driving Car Doesn't Have A Steering Wheel

Google's New Self-Driving Car Doesn't Have A Steering Wheel
Google just unveiled its latest autonomous car, and it's nothing more than a bulbous two-seater, with no steering wheel, gas or brake. This is the future, pod people.
Unlike every Prius and Lexus hybrids in Google's fleet, this was designed from the ground-up as a complete reimagining of what transportation could be. It's designed to simply you get from A to B, without every having to interact with the controls.
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.
By starting with a blank sheet of paper, Google X – the company's skunkworks division – was able to nix every extraneous bit aspect of modern cars, which means in addition to no controls, it doesn't have a stereo, a glovebox, or mirrors.
Google's New Self-Driving Car Doesn't Have A Steering Wheel

What it does have is an electric drivetrain that's capped at a top speed of 25 MPH for now, along with a brace of sensors that can see over 200 yards around the "car", buttons for start and stop, and a screen that shows the route.
Google's plan is to build about 100 of these prototypes, with "safety drivers" beginning to test the cars this summer. Those cars will have traditional controls for safety, and Google plans to run the pilot project for a coupe of years to learn from the program.

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