Google’s Self-Driving Cars Are “Ready For The Road” – Video

MAY 27 2015 BY MARK KANE 28

Google EV

Google EV

About one year ago, Google unveiled its neighborhood autonomous electric vehicle, which passed a lot of test.

The Little 2 seater now gets the green light for use on the streets of Mountain View, CA, where it will appear this summer.

Second phase of tests still will be capped with a speed limit of 25 mph and additionally there will be safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed.

Google intends to develop autonomous vehicles, which will shoulder the entire burden of driving, reducing up to 94% of accidents caused by human error (NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis data), and reclaim the billions of hours wasted in traffic. Another benefit is to create the possibility of driving for those who otherwise would be excluded by their inability to drive a car.

We’ve been running the vehicles through rigorous testing at our test facilities, and ensuring our software and sensors work as they’re supposed to on this new vehicle. The new prototypes will drive with the same software that our existing fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs uses. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since we started the project, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. So the new prototypes already have lots of experience to draw on—in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.

Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, and to uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle—e.g., where it should stop if it can’t stop at its exact destination due to construction or congestion. In the coming years, we’d like to run small pilot programs with our prototypes to learn what people would like to do with vehicles like this. If you’d like to follow updates about the project and share your thoughts, please join us on our Google+ page. See you on the road!”

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28 Comments on "Google’s Self-Driving Cars Are “Ready For The Road” – Video"

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They are awesomely dorky.

Please let them on the road. They can provide great services to people like the disabled that have difficulty driving.

and senior citizens who wish to retain some semblence of mobile independence. My parents are quickly approaching the point where they’re physically mobile, but their eyes can’t keep up.

When i see photos of the google car it always reminds me to the “Dandy Lion SX”:

“He informed Mark Chase that if the car were driven more than 70 MPH with the headlights on and the sear warmer set to low, the short circuit in radio would cause a cataclysmic chain reaction that would blow up the car and the people inside it.”

I understand Google wanting to develop the software & sensors, but I don’t understand them trying to learn to build a car. I’m thinking they should have partnered w/an auto company for that.

I question that it’s appropriate to say that Google is actually building the cars, or even trying to. According to Wikipedia:

“Google has also developed their own custom vehicle, which are assembled by Roush Enterprises and use equipment from Bosch, ZF Lenksysteme, LG, and Continental.”

I’m reminded of what was said about the first generation IBM PC: The only part of that which IBM made was the plate displaying the “IBM” logo.

I don’t think Google wants to make actual cars any more than Apple does. I think they are primarily interested in the software for self-driving cars, and probably have only designed hardware because it’s necessary to have hardware to control the car and properly interface with the software. At least Apple probably does want to make and sell actual hardware to go into cars.

Other than 4 wheels, this car resembles nothing done by any other car manufacturer especially when google doesn’t want a steering wheel or pedals. I also think that car manufacturers don’t wan’t google learning their trade secrets by partnering.

For the people who find beauty in the BMW i3 this Google car may have some appeal.

I don’t think so. The BMW i3 certainly doesn’t follow current automobile styling, but it’s not a “dorkmobile” the way this Google car is!

They are not “ready for the road”, in my book, until the have been crash tested to NHTSA standards and get at least as good a rating as a SMART car, preferably better.

No manufacturer crash test prototypes…

… on purpose

Exactly. We need to remember these are test vehicles, not a finished product.

As a motorcyclist, it scares me to think of a car relying on sensors to notice me. Traffic signals don’t notice me half the time.

As a motorcyclist, I have more confidence in cameras & radar noticing me than drivers who never see motorcycles. The reason the traffic light sensors don’t see you is because of different sensors. The ones in the street don’t sense enough metal.

You are scared of sensors designed for autonomy more than drivers who are texting, drunk or both?

All current cars also use sensors to make sure the ABS brakes activate and deploy airbags, scared of those too?

Relying on the actual people out there driving cars today to notice you doesn’t scare you?? I’d much rather trust the sensors developed for this purpose (after further testing of course). I’m pretty sure the sensors won’t be talking on the phone, texting, eating, playing saxophone, etc all while driving…

Yeah, add me to the list of people that have more faith in an autonomous car than a person-driven car.

Humans suck at driving, but I would prefer my autonomy to be more aesthetically pleasing…

(Some) humans suck at driving…

There fixed it. But is the “some” that scare the hell out of me.

Totally agree that I would be horrified if all cars end up looking like this. I am hoping this is their own prototype to polish the sensors and software, which they will then sell to OEMs.


When you average the outcomes of all drivers over their lifetimes, one finds that everyone makes mistakes; humans get tired, drive distracted, drive in a rushed manner to make an appointment, drive in severe conditions that are not safe, ages and loses ability to react quickly to unsafe events, make poor judgements due to disease, age or lifestyle choices, forgot or never really knew the rules of the road, etc.

Don’t tell me not one example cited above, applied to you.

Humans suck at driving.

I never make misteaks.

I am correct in assuming that this is a BEV. Have they given any specs on the drivetrain (kW), battery (kWh), or range (EPA)?

Can’t find much on it. Would have to ask Roush Enterprises, who builds them.

Am I the only one thinking about the Johnny Caps from Schwarzeneggers Total Recall? But I would totally use them in the city, much better than driving a bus with luggage… or driving after you had some beers. I hope they are easy to clean 😉

These are little road spies that accept passengers as a bonus. The scanning frequency of google street view will greatly increase, and will offer new types of functionality as a side effect.

Every prison needs its sentries.

I am all in for computer backup (warning) but not a computer only system. I don’t believe we are there yet.
Here is a “Self-Parking” Volvo:

I’d like to see Google operating a taxi service with zillions of these bugs. It should be cheaper than Uber since the expensive drivers are out of the equation.