Google Unveils Autonomous Vehicle Prototype, Roush Rumoured To Be Involved
The autonomous vehicle has taken a step closer to traversing the streets and highways of the world with Google’s new prototype, which may have racing — and Skynet — in its cybernetic blood.
Autoblog reports the toy-esque prototype has room for two, push-button start and no manual controls of any sort. Speed is limited to 25 mph — no source of power has been mentioned — with a visible integrated roll cage providing structural integrity. Project director Chris Urmson adds:
On the inside, we’ve designed for learning, not luxury, so we’re light on creature comforts, but we’ll have two seats (with seat belts), a space for passengers’ belongings, buttons to start and stop and a screen that shows the route-and that’s about it.
As for the racing link, Roush has been rumoured to be the ones building the proposed 100 prototypes set to undergo testing this summer according to an anonymous source. The source also says assembly will take place in Michigan, and the company — who also improves Ford Mustangs on occasion, as well as deliver the goods for transportation and military applications — is hiring engineers for the project.
Public use of the Google commuter pods is expected to come online in a California-based pilot within a couple of years per the search engine giant.
Here's an MIT Tech Review on Autonomous vehicles. It takes a more realistic tone than the articles that have been appearing in the last few days. http://www.technologyreview.com/review/513531/proceed-with-caution-toward-the-self-driving-car/
Seems with a few simple lines of code you could keep these self driving cars out of the left lane except when passing. That alone is worth the price of admission.
My questions: 1. What if I want to go offroad? Can this car understand the concept of driveways and unmarked backroads, or do I need to buy a G-150 4x4 for that? 2. How does the car help avoid being rear-ended? This could be a big deal 3. Would there ever be a "G-150"? Trucks are used differently than cars- could Google develop one? 4. How will the car handle areas without cell reception (ie- The Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming) 5. Will there be software updates? If so, how will that affect my driving? 6. Continuing from #5, who installs updates? The owner, the Google dealer, a car dealer, a computer repairman,... 7. Could these be used to provide more current views on Google Maps (New "Google Street View cars"???) 8. How will these handle new roads not in Google's system, or road construction (Especially detours)? 9. Will Bing produce a car at the same price with half the functionality? 10. If not, can I switch the Google car to use Bing Maps, allowing me to never reach my destination? Okay, the last two are tongue-in-cheek!
What an awesome way of tracking everyone, anytime. Add this to "smart homes" and its close to a done deal.