Google Driver-less Car Coming This Summer
Google recently announced that they were going to start testing prototypes of their autonomous self-driving cars, on public roads around their Mountain View, California headquarters. The testing begins a very important phase for the company, because it will help to cultivate some positive consumer perception of self-driving cars, and also help to influence future legislation regarding self-driving cars.
Previously, Google had been using modified Lexus RX450H SUVs as the vehicle for their autonomous self-driving vehicle research, but now, they are using custom built electric cars. Since the start of the project, those cars have logged in close to one million miles in autonomous driving time on public streets, with a weekly average of 10,000 miles.
For those that have safety concerns about having cars without on their streets, the is no need for concern, because the cars will not exceed a neighborhood-safe 25 miles per hour, and they will also have a driver on board, as well as a brake pad and gas pedal, just in case they are needed. This will ensure that there will be someone to take control of the car in case there is a malfunction.
According to Google, they plan on launching pilot programs in the future, to learn more about how people would use self-driving cars if they could. But right now, they are more concerned about measuring the public’s perception about the cars, and creating a positive consumer awareness about them.
According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 94 percent of all accidents that occur are due to human error, which means that people have to believe that the self-driving cars are safer alternatives, before they can fully embrace them. According to David Strickland, the former NHTSA administrator, the Google cars are certain to perform better than people when it comes to driving safely, because people tend to overestimate their driving skills.
He also believes that having people see these cars on the road will help them embrace them more easily, because they will see first-hand that the technology is safe.
Despite the positive results that they have received from their previous tests, Google still has a lot of challenges to go through before they can finally have these cars on the streets. An example of which is updating the maps with the most recent information possible. If a stop light or stop sign is recently installed on a street, and the car map isn’t updated, it will likely run the light or sign, which will probably result in an accident.
The news that there will soon be a self-driving car available to buy is great news for fans of technology, and we hope that these tests will help make the dream of owning a self-driving car a reality.