Just how serious is Google about building autonomous cars? Seriously serious, as it turns out, as Google has just unveiled their first ever, totally autonomous car. When I say totally autonomous, I mean that there isn’t even the option to drive the car yourself; no pedals, no steering wheel, no gear shifter. Just a whole lotta leg room.
The Google Car isn’t about reinventing the wheel (though it is ADORABLE), so much as removing people from the driving experience. Limited to just 25 MPH and having an interior that consists solely of a pair of seats, some cupholders, and a navigation input for your destination, utilizing a complicated algorithm coupled to lots of cameras and sensors to navigate the crowded streets of California. Google plans to build about 100 of these autonomous cars to begin local testing this summer, with plans for a California-wide pilot test down the road.
The possibilities of this technology are virtually limitless, and the effects could be profound. Accidents and speeding tickets would become a thing of the past, and parents could spend their time in the car helping kids with homework instead of navigating rush hour traffic. On the flip side, autonomous vehicles could make millions of jobs obsolete in short order, and could devastate the budgets of local police departments reliant on lead-foot drivers.
The real takeaway here though? Google could be the next “disruptor” in the automotive field, and potentially a bigger one than even Tesla. Why buy a cutting-edge car company when you can just…build your own?