Google Self-Driving Car

Google is working to build its own self-driving cars, and today it is showing off prototype vehicles with no steering wheel or traditional user controls that are in the works. Announced today alongside an appearance from Sergey Brin at the Recode Conference, the official Google Blog and a new Google Self-Driving Car Project Google+ page are showing off what Google is working on as its first in-house developed self-driving vehicle.

What looks a bit like a mash-up of a Smart Car, a BMW i3 and some creative thinking, this prototype is built with off-the-shelf automotive parts and has a distinct lack of any user controls aside from a pair of seatbelts and a single button in the center console. The car is powered by an electric motor and carries two passengers at a time, using the same self-driving hardware and software that until now has been retrofitted on cars from major manufacturers.

These prototypes are speed-limited to 25 mph and are low on comforts (you can see the full exposed roll cage in the below video), simply having a compartment for the passengers' belongings and a screen showing the driving route. Google says it wants to make roughly 100 prototype vehicles of this kind with manual controls included for pilot program testing on the streets, with future fully-autonomous versions coming later, hopefully in the next two years.

Source: Google


Reader comments

Google is building its own self-driving car with electric powertrain, no steering wheel


That is how it stops but to say it's better is a pretty big stretch. The prius had some problems a few years ago because the standard brakes were only meant to supplement the motors slowing action and there were a few uncommon situations where the electrics couldn't do it and the small brakes were inadequate causing some low speed wrecks.

It also has a Panic Button. This car was made for side roads or neighborhood roads. For example they gave uses as for kids to be driven to friend's houses or to practice. They make it sound like a taxi to assist families.

That was an issue between the electric braking and hydrolic braking handoff.. This being full electric you don't have that problem.

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Do you have scientific studies to back up the claim that magnets can stop the car better than brake pads and rotors?

Just because Google does something does not automatically make it better.

Why not, their is a HTC Nexus with donut on a satellite in space, along with 2 other Nexus devices with Froyo in space from NASA and the European space agency.

One of them is being used to test what audio sounds can be made and heard in a vacuum, if any


Maybe this is Google's Soundwave

The car is basically a frame, body, seats, and an electric engine, has bare bones compared to a regular automobile

Everything is controlled by computer...that runs Tizen

But yeah, that's pretty cool and all, but I want my damn flying car already!!!

If it drives around without me having to do anything it can look like a giant flaming phallus for all I care.

Really? Tell that to the guys who spent 8+ years working their butts off to make this thing work.

Posted by a tuba playing,nexus 5 and 7 carrying future hacker.

Well the design not the functionality because frankly it's cool except for the design

Posted from my Nexus 7 2013 or Samsung galaxy S5

I can think of several cars this looks better than. The original Aztec. The stupid Cube. Some of the blockier Supermarket Utility Vehicles.

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Anything, literally anything, looks better than the original Aztec. I truly believe a vehicle cannot get uglier than the Aztec.

This is why I cannot see myself buying this or Google Glass. Google just doesn't understand mainstream fashion appeal. They need to venture outside of their geek culture a little bit.

Why can't they just open source the Google Car software to other car brands?

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Do you not realize that Google uses a Lexus for all of their driverless cars except the ones they built?

dont' know about you, but I shared the video with my friend who has owned over 10 Bimmers over the last 40 years. He said the Google car is really good-looking!

This is the future.

I see that these will at first be allowed for local driving, mostly b2b deliveries around town.

Local bars could by 1 or 2 to keep parked for drunks. Program the drunk's address and the car takes him home, then returns to the bar and parks. Charge a fee if you want.

Restaurants can use them to deliver take-out to homes. Pay online and then go out and get your pizza when the car arrives. It then drives itself back.

Maybe in 20 years.. The laws will need changing first, as they're written to assume a driver who is legally responsible for what the car does. Eg. If this thing runs a red light, who gets the ticket?

Also it's going to be years before these are cheap enough for your average pizza joint to have one.. Even a standard electric car is still a rich mans plaything.. Add in 'smart' and watch the price hit the stratosphere.

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Are there legal issues to sort through? Yes. Will it take 20 years? No way! The public desire for this thing will put enough political pressure to sort these things out in a matter of years, not decades.

Who is liable when the pizza delivery vehicle runs over a kid chasing a ball into the street. And believe me, it will happen. No technology is 100% perfect. Will you sue the Pizza joint, or the vehicle manufacturer, or the company that supplied the tech to the manufacturer? Probably all three.

This technology will be a legal nightmare.

What mirrors? Those things that at a glance look like wing mirrors are sensors, you can see the other side of them at 1:20, and there is no mirror on them.

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If this is the future, I don't want it. I want to drive myself in my 400 HP whatever gas guzzler and hear the roar of the engine. We are losing the car culture in the USA. Call me old fashion.

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You're old fashioned...

... and so is that mode of travel in 20 years. Don't worry though, you can make "VROOM VROOM" sounds as it goes.

Got news for you , fossil fuel cars are not going anywhere. All you young nerds can have these cars. Young people just don't understand the thrill of driving and the independence it brings, so keep your public transportation and electric cars. I don't need them.

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Not when they artificially increase the price of gasoline to $25+ a gallon to force you into one. Look what the government is doing to the coal industry today if you think it won't happen.

You are totally correct on that point. Even if the supply is still there(and it will be) the government still has its environmental agenda.

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You're missing the point. Once you stick all the bad, distracted, and just don't give a crap drivers in these and then you can actually enjoy driving your 400hp Gas guzzler without being surrounded by idiots all over the road. There are still plenty of people who are into "Car culture" but the problem is that there are easily 20 times more people who would rather read facebook than drive anywhere... granted they can't be bothered to walk 2 blocks to catch a bus, but I digress. Once you get them plugged into their little self driving cars the roads will once again belong to people who actually enjoy driving, well us and and the ordely little polite self driving cars.

Hopefullly Google intends this only as a technology demonstration. If not, there are some really stupid people at Google. No technology is flawless or 100% reliable, and there needs to be a way for the driver to take control in the event of a problem.

Actually, that's backward. The whole "self-driving" car idea is backwards. It's been demonstrated over and over that while computers are very good at stepping in when a human operator makes a mistake, the reverse is not true. When automation fails, humans are very slow to step in, because they've been lulled into somnambulance. This approach to technology has caused accidents in places as diverse as nuclear power plants to airliners.

So it's best for them to not even try? Everyone on these tech forums are always screaming for more innovation and outside the box ideas, but complain when a company tries something different. It's a prototype. They have a long ways to go before this can even remotely become mainstream. Companies make all kinds of prototypes and try new things, many just don't get announced.

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Ok, so I have a silly question. Is Jerry stealing from Andrew or is Andrew stealing from Jerry? ;)

Cause over at Connectedly, the same story, written the same way, is under Andrew Martonik's byline.

(I'm goofing, of course. I presume one of them wrote it and the other posted it on the other site and everything is awesome. I just had this weird sense of deja vu when I read the stories about an hour apart).

Ok, the front looks like a clown's face, which will immediately make a percentage of the population who're afraid of clowns not buy this vehicle. But that aside, how cool! I can see something like this really taking off at a place like The Village in Florida (big retirement community, lots of people use golf carts to get around) or for commuters in well-populated areas. When the lady mentioned that not having to pay attention to driving would mean more time interacting with her kids, that was a cool thought.

This would also be cool for something like ZipCar, where instead of having to somehow get to the ZipCar first it would come to you instead. I'm no engineer or anything, just thinking wildly.....

It'll be dirt cheap. OMG. I can't wait. I wish as a society that we were capable of embracing this at a faster pace. My wish is for five years. Reality probably ten to twenty. Would be sweet though. Plus if cities like London reserved traffic to this and busses and a few trucks it would be awesome.

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I want it to drop me off at the front door to work, then drive off and park itself. I generally have a 10 minute walk from the parking lot to work, and that would be awesome!

All the obvious tech in this thing is actually quite simple. All the sensors, ect have been around for years. Heck i made an rc car that could drive itself around the academic buildings and find specific rooms in college. The complication comes in when you put all the tech together and account for the random and unforeseen.

O and this thing is obviously only for parking lot demos. Google has no business designing a road legal car. Not with the mountains upon mountains of standards and legislation. Not unless they have a full team of mechanical engineers familiar with the automotive design hiding somewhere.

Just wait for GM to run out of the government money they have piled up in approx 3-4 years. Then they'll be bankrupt again because they're still losing money and using enron like accounting to post phony "profits" After that, there will plenty of engineers will be looking for jobs..

No steering wheel? But when I'm being chased by villians and I need to take control of the car how can I? (And why can't I remember what movie that is from...)