The self driving car apocalypse is upon us as Google is now unleashing its autonomous vision of the future to the public.
The little 2 seater features no brake or gas pedal, no gear shift or steering wheel and a lot of molded plastic. And of course, it is totally autonomous.
Google was originally representing this as pretty much an autonomous build by themselves, but Jalopnik Detroit put an end to that assumption fairly quickly, noting Roush Enterprises in Michigan is in "midst of hiring engineers for the Google project and is making interviewees sign a confidentiality agreement keeping the partnership secret.
Still, its a pretty swell little EV and a great first effort at taking the 'human element' out of the driving equation.
Google states of the project:
It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, “What should be different about this kind of vehicle?” We started with the most important thing: 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, which is especially helpful on busy streets with lots of intersections. And we’ve capped the speed of these first vehicles at 25 mph. On the inside, we’ve designed for learning, not luxury, so we’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seatbelts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop, and a screen that shows the route—and that’s about it.
We’re planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls. If all goes well, we’d like to run a small pilot program here in California in the next couple of years. We’re going to learn a lot from this experience, and if the technology develops as we hope, we’ll work with partners to bring this technology into the world safely.
If you’d like to follow updates about the project and share your thoughts, please join us on our new Google+ page. We’re looking forward to learning more about what passengers want in a vehicle where their number one job is to kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.