Google’s self-driving car project; they’ve been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving. Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History.
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.
It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, What should be different about this kind of vehicle? We started with the most important thing: safety. They have sensors that remove blind spots, and they can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions, which is especially helpful onbusy streets with lots of intersections. And we’ve capped the speed of these first vehicles at 25 mph. On the inside, we’ve designed for learning, not luxury, so were light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route and that’s about it.