This summer, Northern Californians will be sharing the roads with thousands of other cars – but what makes this summer different is some of these cars won’t have drivers. Google’s fleet of self-driving cars will be making its debut on public streets near its Mountain View headquarters to test out their real-world efficiency.
Having already logged around one million autonomous miles (which adds up to about 75 years of driving experience) on the company’s original fleet of Lexus RX 450h SUVs, Google is one step closer to changing the way people travel.
In an article by Forbes, the director of the project, Chris Urmson, says:
“Vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button could transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents cause by human error, reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, or bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car.”
To test out their efficiency, each car will be limited to a speed of 25 miles per hour and will include a “safety driver” inside who can override the vehicle’s actions at any time. While a regular self-driving car won’t be equipped with a steering wheel or brake pedal, Google’s first public prototypes will have both of these features (though removable) for the safety driver to use.
However, even if the cars prove to be a safe and adjusted means of transportation, Google will have to face further questions such as who’s at fault if an accident were to occur or if the cars will be able to react as quickly and instinctively as humans. To help quell these worries, Google has tried to make its cars as friendly and acceptable as possible, from their bubbly shapes to their single-area isolation in order to increase familiarity.
Here’s the video that accompanied Google’s announcement:
So what do you think? Do you think self-driving cars will be successful addition to the millions of cars driven by human beings?
*Photo courtesy of www.theoatmeal.com