Tech

Google Says Self-Driving Car Safe For Passenger, Pedestrian

Google has built a prototype self-driving car without a steering wheel, accelerator or brakes. The company plans to build nearly 100 of the vehicles.

Google Says Self-Driving Car Safe For Passenger, Pedestrian
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Who knew the future could look so friendly?

"The human feeling of it is very well engineered, and it's very smooth. There's nothing that makes you feel the least bit threatened. It's impressive. I'm totally in love with this whole concept." (Via Google)

That was Google's new prototype self-driving car — a friendly, cartoonish version of the autonomous Lexus of yesteryear. (Via Flickr / Stanford Center for Internet and Society)

The company says it has removed all the controls we've come to expect in a vehicle — inside, you'll find two buttons, one to make it go and one to make it stop in an emergency. Google says the prototype's focus is on 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 ... we’ve capped the speed of these first vehicles at 25 mph. On the inside ... we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route." (Via Google)

‚ÄčRe/code got a chance to try out the vehicle — its safety features apparently made things a little too safe. "Uh-oh. Oh-no. Run 'em over! Oh, where's the fun in that?"

The outlet spoke with Chris Urmson, the head of Google's self-driving car unit. He says the car has been designed with passenger and pedestrian safety in mind. "The front end is a whole new approach where it’s compressible foam and a flexible windshield that should do a much better job of protecting people if an accident should occur." (Via Re/code)

Google will build nearly 100 of the bulbous vehicles, with the ultimate goal of launching a pilot program in California.

And Google co-founder Sergey Brin tells The New York Times he has big plans for the car's future. "Self-driving cars have the potential to drive in trains much closer together and, in theory, in the future at much higher speeds. There is nothing to say that once you demonstrate the safety, why can't you go 100 miles per hour?"

One hundred miles per hour in a clown car ... I hope I live to see the day. (Via YouTube / H8Bozos)