WATCH: Google building 'driverless' car

Google will make 100 prototype cars that drive themselves, and therefore do not need a wheel, brake and gas pedals.

Google is building a car without a steering wheel.

Sergey Brin, co-founder of the technology titan, told a Southern California tech conference Tuesday evening that Google will make 100 prototype cars that drive themselves, and therefore do not need a wheel. Or brake and gas pedals.

Instead, there are buttons for go and stop. A combination of sensors and computing power takes the driving from there. Though not driving very quickly, the top speed would be 25 mph.

WATCH people take a ride in the Google driverless car:

To date, Google has driven hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads with Lexus SUVs and Toyota Priuses outfitted with the special equipment.

The electric-powered car is compact and bubble-shaped, something that might move people around a corporate campus or congested downtown.

This prototype is the first Google will have built for itself. It won't be for sale, and Google is unlikely to go deeply into auto manufacturing. In a blog post, the company emphasized partnering with other firms.

The biggest obstacle could be the law. Test versions will have a wheel and pedals, because they must under California regulations. The DMV had thought that reality was several years away, so it would have time to perfect the rules.

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
  1. Angry Bill posted on 05/28/2014 11:16 AM
    The realization of this technology can't happen fast enough for me. Tens of thousands of fewer accidents per year, as human error is removed as a factor. If there's a mechanical malfunction resulting in a serious accident, that is still 1 in a million. Human-caused accidents are much, much, much more prevalent and far more likely to kill you.

    The only thing I am hesitant about is no steering mechanism or pedals. You need to trust the car implicitly. I like the idea of being able to take control in an emergency. Though I suppose the argument can be made that the computer is capable of reacting far more quickly and safely than I can, with a 360 degree awareness of what's happening around the vehicle... something that no person is capable of doing.

    Anyway, the end result would be no accidents, and far quicker commute times because the cars would know what they're doing.. unlike quite a few of the drivers who cause the delays and traffic jams.
    1. Frankie posted on 05/28/2014 11:40 AM
      @Angry Bill Agree completely. I'd like to see them replace bad politicians and lazy civil servants as well, but that's probably further down the road.
    2. Karl Burgin posted on 05/28/2014 12:33 PM
      @Frankie Automoton politicians...hmmm ;p
    3. Karl Burgin posted on 05/28/2014 12:35 PM
      @Angry Bill As much as I am in technology, there are some things I am slow to adapt to- and this will be one of them.
      With the amount of recent and wide-spread hacking stories, security in the technology world has taken a big hit- and seems to be playing catch-up.
      I would hate to wonder what would happen if Google servers were hacked and took control. Unfortunately, the human element would still be in the equation.
    4. Angry Bill posted on 05/28/2014 04:21 PM
      @Karl Burgin The cars are autonomous, though.. they aren't controlled by any central server. The entire internet could shut down, and these cars would still work autonomously. Hackers would have to hack into each and every single vehicle individually.

      All things considered, humans driving is still far more dangerous than computers driving. Of all the multi thousands of miles already driven by self-driving cars in just about any driving scenario, there have been zero accidents as the result of the self driving car. There were a couple of accidents, but those were caused by people who took over instead of letting the car drive. People, on the other hand, if they drive the same number of multi thousands of miles, odds are much, much higher that there would be accidents involved. Humans just have poor judgment, on average. Period.
  2. Leon posted on 05/28/2014 01:00 PM
    The driverless vehicle is going to do great things for public transit once the technology matures some more. A transit system with no drivers is a transit system that never holds the citizens who depend on it hostage for a raise, especially once we automate the fare collectors as well.
  3. 63r01d posted on 05/28/2014 03:45 PM
    "Thank you for using Johnny Cab, hope you enjoyed the ride, HaHa!"
  4. Angry Bill posted on 05/28/2014 04:36 PM
    You all know that I'm for this. But I am also aware of the downside.

    The downside is this. The authorities will be able to control/shut down your vehicle, instead of chasing you and pulling you over. Well, that's an upside, if you're a criminal. But if you're a libertarian, you just don't want the authorities to just be able to shut you down whenever they feel like it.

    But, picture this. There's a warrant out for your arrest. The authorities scan the network, and notice the vehicle registered to you is on the 401 between DVP and Leslie. They send instructions to your car, overriding your destination.. Your doors lock, windows lock, and the car drives to the nearest police station or detention center, where you are met by the authorities. There are science fiction horror movies that have this scenario. Do YOU trust the authorities with this kind of power, without abusing it? I don't.

    So... the question then becomes, are we willing to give up that freedom in order to have the benefits of a safe, much faster commute?

    Also, consider this... The insurance companies make a killing off of the premiums you pay. Because they can chortle and point to statistics showing that people in your age group like to get into accidents. Now, that's all gone. We're all even. A 78 year old blind man can get into one of these cars, and so can a 19 year old girl. Same car, same safety record. What will the insurance companies do? They either fight these cars getting on the road at all, which I think is the most likely strategy. Or, they change their business model, and find some other way to suck the cash out of our pocket. Or, they go out of business. I'd be for that last scenario.

    Other companies that rely on you getting into accidents would be gone, as well. 90% of tow truck drivers would be out of work. Garages would close. There would be too many to service vehicles that rarely crash. And many other satellite businesses would be impacted, as well.

    But that's the price of progress. There were a lot of blacksmiths, farmers and horse buggy suppliers who went out of business once people started buying cars. And all the satellite businesses associated with horse travel. But people adapt to the new technology, and I'm sure will find new ways to separate you from your money soon enough.
showing all comments

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Top Stories

Today's Poll

Does it matter to you that Toronto's new police chief, Mark Saunders, is black?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults


Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.