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Automaker Google: No-driver cars roll out

2014-05-28 09:12

GOOGLE’S SELF-DRIVING CAR: Google is testing a self-driving prototype which it believes “could improve road safety and help lots of people who can't drive”. Image: Google

LOS ANGELES, California - Google, pioneer of self-driving cars, is now testing a driverless car - no steering wheel, no driver's seat.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of the technology titan, said at a tech conference here on Tuesday (May 27 2014) that Google will build 100 prototypes that drive themselves.

The concept vehicle seats two and has a top speed of 40km/h. Sensors allows the vehicle to determine its location and it can "see several hundred metres", according to Google.

VIDEO: Google's self-driving concept

As for its design, the toy-like concept looks like a combination of Fiat's 500 and a Smart ForTwo. Or a wheeled bubble...

The best part of the autonomous car? It can be summoned by a smart phone and automatically drive to a selected destination without human intervention. Imagine being able to call your car from wherever it is to pick you up from lunch and drop you at the office.

MANUAL CONTROLS... IF NEEDED

The cars won't have a steering-wheel or pedals but instead stop/go buttons. A combination of sensors and computing power takes over the task of driving. The controls are necessary to comply with California, Nevada and Florida laws, states that allow autonomous vehicles but only if a driver can take control.

To date Google has driven hundreds of thousands of kilometres on public roads in the US with Lexus SUV's and Toyota Priuses  fitted with its self-driving equipment.

The prototype is the first Google has built itself. It won't be for sale and Google is unlikely to branch to deep into vehicle manufacturing.
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