from I, Robot to Minority Report, the concept of self-driving cars have been deeply entrenched in science friction which never seems to come true (2015 is nearing, where is our Hoverboard and flying cars?). however, with the Google Self-Driving Car prototype, that perceived future might hold some traction and could finally materialize – that’s if Google has its way. unveiled yesterday, the Google Self-Driving Car is a fully working prototype, presented as a cute, compact hatch automobile that seems to have a face of its own (think Totoro and the likes). it looks nothing like the vehicle that appeared to be zipping along the highway at breakneck speed in Minority Report, but the important thing is, will it work as what science friction has taught us?
the idea behind the self-driving car is to free us from the need to handle the car ourselves, allowing a more efficient use of the time such as negating the need to search for a parking, or ferrying seniors who no longer fit to drive, or bringing the drunks back home safely without them touching the wheel. in short, it should in theory, remove one less danger posed by land vehicles in this ever congested world we live in. the custom-built Google Self-Driving Car is more than just a car; it is a piece of advanced technology on wheels. the car is loaded with sensors, covering blind spots and even detecting objects as far out as two football fields in any given directions – all in the effort to make sure the passengers have a safe and smooth journey.
the interior is void of steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brake pedal – all you need to do is to set the destination, hit the start button and the vehicle will do the rest. you can take a wink, marvel at the model architecture or do some work, thereby making your everyday transit a more efficient and fulfilling one. most importantly, it is suppose to be safe. the prototype here has a top speed of 25 mph (40 km/h) and is a basic automobile that seats two, complete with seatbelts, of course, and has a space for the passengers’ belongings, start/stop buttons, and a display that shows the route. nothing fancy, really cos’ it is after all, a prototype.
Google will be testing hundreds of them equipped with manual controls with safety drivers at the helm and if all goes well, the Internet Search giant hopes to push a pilot program (of self-driving cars) in California “in the next couple of years.” as a geek, i am definitely looking forward to the future. what about you? are you prepared for self-driving cars?