“There’s no steering wheel in the way!” an elderly lady exclaims as she gets into Google’s latest innovation – a self-driving car that was revealed to the world on Tuesday.
The functioning prototype that pulls up in front of her has cartoonish eyes drawn on it, and a little protruding nose and mouth. “Isn’t that cute?” she says. It reminds one of a kid-sized toy car. Only, this one is for grown-ups, and is designed to one day replace real life cars.
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The goal of Google when starting their self-driving car project was to design a vehicle that could improve road safety and to provide people that can’t drive the ability to move around. “I love this!” shouts one blind man as he rides in the car.
The vehicle is powered by an electric motor, sensors, and “Google Chauffeur” software. It has no steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator. The only sort of user interface is a start and a stop button. The car’s pick up and destination location is set by a smartphone.
Google still has a long way to go in making this concept a reality; a consumer product is years away. But still, it is an exciting possibility that will impact countless lives, including the blind and the elderly, not to mention daily commuters.
What do you think about being driven around in a self-driving car? Share your comments below.
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