Looks like Jetsons wasn’t way off the mark with it’s futuristic model of a city, with robots sorting out every menial task for you. Google is now moving closer to just such a cityscape by introducing a car that can drive you to work! *gasp* *gasp* the future is here!
As of today, you can see panda-shaped self-driving cars going around the streets of Mountain View, California.
Quartz first reported in March that Google was likely to start trialing its cars this year.
Although quite an exciting idea (I can’t wait to try it myself!), the cars can only travel 25 mph and must have drivers behind the wheel at all times for safety reasons. A few accidents have occurred in the past but Google blames careless drivers for that.
Google’s modified Lexus and Toyota Prius self-driving cars have been on the streets for years, and have now racked up over 1 million miles of experience. The computational system that powered those cars is in Google’s purpose-built cars now driving around.
The driverless car team’s post on Google+ said that the cars will have “a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed.”
Although the cars will have drivers and steering wheels in them while they’re being tested, Google said ultimately they’re intended to be steering-wheel free – giving the human passengers more time to check their email or watch a movie, or whatever else we like to do on our way when we don’t have to concentrate on the road. Imagine getting ready for work on the way? Or maybe finishing up a presentation you need to give first thing in the morning? The possibilities could be endless for those who have to spend hours on commute!