Nearly 6 years after its original debut in 2009, Chris Urmson, the director of the Google self-driving car project, announced that Google is finally ready to take things mainstream with a final round of self-driving automobiles on the public roads of Mountain View, California.
Currently using much of the same software found in their previous test model, the Lexus 450h SUV, Google has built a small, unique car of their own, working with suppliers such as Roush, LG & Bosch to publish the first official self-navigating public automobile, capable of meeting safety and legal standards.
Capped at a neighborhood friendly speed of 25mph, most of the vehicle’s attraction comes from its safety, equipped with sensors, radars and lasers sensitive and smart enough for the car to tell the difference between a trash can and pedestrian.
Regarding the previous Lexus 450h test models “the new prototypes already have lots of experience to draw on —in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.”
Google’s safety drivers will be testing the cars equipped with a removable steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal, and though in a test vehicle, the additional mechanics may be a permanent feature.
Even with precision technology, Google has reported 11 accidents with an accurate claim by Urmson saying, "not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident". Urmson makes an additional statement of that claim on their official blog with a comparison to the 94 percent of car accidents caused by human error.
It’s unlikely that this car will not exceed the expectations of what many had for 2015, plus more. What is certain is that we are closer to the science and technology we once called fiction, now, it’s just a matter of acceptance, and Google has done a lot of work to gain the trust necessary to us move forward.
As events and technical breakthroughs unfold, companies like Nasa, Apple, Hyundai and even Domino’s Pizza will be joining Google in the race to automation. The car has already hit the streets, so keep on the look out this summer if you're in Google's neighborhood and follow the progress on their Google plus page.