Google driverless cars ready for roads in 2019? 0

That’ll be the case if Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, has his way. He joked with reporters last week of his wish to have their driverless car ready in time for his twelve-year-old son’s 16th birthday.

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Brin knows that car enthusiasts may have hesitations, or even anger towards this new technology, but he aptly responded to worriers during a recent media panel, “I love the idea of being out on an open road that’s curvy and fun, when you’re driving and really getting into it… but that’s probably about 1% of my experience.” This, actually, is the case for most drivers. We sit in traffic, slow down at crossings, wait for red lights to turn green, eek forward at roundabouts, and hunt for parking spaces. A driverless car would make these tedious activities easier and safer to complete.

With the likes of Tesla and General Motors throwing their keys into the race, Google’s driverless car will have some competition when it hits the streets. As a tech company first, Google has partnered up with other car manufacturers to create the self-driving vehicle. They’re currently using a Lexus RX as the base model for the future commercial car. By using the traditional set-up, they are able to have a ‘driver’ sit at the steering wheel, and if they needed to take control to prevent an accident, they could do it with the press of a button.

 

The Lexus RX with Google driverless technology

The Lexus RX with Google driverless technology

On top of creating the new Lexus, Google is also developing its own driverless car. Almost pod-like, the prototype features no steering wheel. The Google driverless car is safe, slow and cautious, as it should be. But, humans don’t usually drive like that. Google has said that during the six years of on-road testing, there have been 16 minor accidents, a considerably low amount for the time period and miles they’ve racked up. Although unfortunately that number probably won’t decrease by much whilst they have to mix with human drivers on the road, who can be unpredictable and irrational.

The fleet, made up of 73 vehicles according to the California DMV, have driven well over a million miles between them. All whilst driving on private roads, highways and in urban settings. They’ve encountered a multitude of potential hazards and with each car recording, learning and sharing that experience with the other cars; they’re becoming smarter with each drive. Google has even set up a course where it purposefully messes with the cars, in order to build their repertoire of potential dangers.

 

The Google driverless car concept

The Google driverless car concept

The cars still have a way to go yet, as Google’s Chris Urmson announced, “We are trying to make them drive more humanistically”. Journalists that have had the pleasure of riding in the cars have noted the abrupt braking and jolting, which is down to the car being a little over-cautious. But, with every new drive the cars are improving and more manufacturers and companies seem to be joining the growing technology venture.

Whether you trust a robot with your life or not, driverless cars seem an inevitable part of our future and will cut down the road-fatality rate.

 

 

Image credit:

http://www.digitalafro.com/lexus-will-probably-be-the-first-auto-maker-to-bring-the-self-driving-car-to-market/