News / USA

Google Unveils Prototype Self-Driving Car

Google Unveils Concept Self-Driving Cari
X
George Putic
May 30, 2014 10:50 PM
U.S. technology giant Google made a step forward in its push for self-driving cars by unveiling a prototype without any manual controls. Google says someday its vehicles will be better drivers than many humans who drive today’s cars. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Google Unveils Concept Self-Driving Car
George Putic
U.S. technology giant Google made a step forward in its push for self-driving cars by unveiling a prototype without any manual controls.

Google said someday its vehicles will be better drivers than many humans who drive today’s cars.

The company's self-driving cars are not a rare sight in western states like California and Nevada, whose legislators are more open to the idea of vehicles with only passive human control.

So far, Google has been converting standard, mass-produced cars, with regular steering wheels and pedals, where a person in the driver’s seat could take over at any time.

Hands free

The subcompact two-seater, presented this week, is a totally new concept, without a possibility for the passengers to control direction, speed or braking.

After entering the destination in the on-board computer, humans can only sit and observe the scenery, or watch the car’s progress on the electronic display. The top speed is limited to 40 kilometers per hour.

“They are a chance for us to explore what it really means to have a self-driving vehicle," said the company’s director for self-driving cars, Chris Urmson. "But in a smaller amount of time we've been working on it now, we have functional prototypes, and it's exciting.”

Urmson said Google wants to develop the technology up to the point where people would be able to call up a car and have it take them where they want to go. The car would then go to the next caller.

Semi-autonomous-drive vehicles

It is very likely that by 2020, semi-autonomous-drive vehicles will be common, according to Zoran Filipi, professor of Automotive Engineering at Clemson University.

“We’ll be able to enjoy other activities while in the car, and, very importantly, we’ll be absolutely safe in traffic,” he said.

Filipi said people will be relieved of some burden of driving on the freeway, but will be able to resume control as they approach their destination.

Google plans to build about a hundred of these prototypes, some with manual controls, and test them on California roads. If all goes well, we could be speeding down the road to the future in driverless cars.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cao from: Jiang su china
June 02, 2014 12:48 AM
Google,the brilliant company with lots of brilliant products.
Why so many great inventions comes out from Amarican?

by: deepu from: Nigeria
June 01, 2014 7:06 AM
great! something new.

by: joey swift from: alabama
May 31, 2014 10:32 AM
It is not a question of if but when this type technology will become mainstream. I welcome these type press releases because it allows people to become familiar and discuss them. Self driving cars will be part of a new future of automation. I can see them being used in tandem with DCshippers.com to deliver packages while the owner is at home or at work. DCshippers is a crowd sourced parcel delivery service that uses daily commuters to deliver packages. Imagine how easy it would be to post your selfdriving cars downtime and have it make you money while you are not using it. I cant wait.
Sincerely
Joey
Dcshippers.com

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
May 31, 2014 12:00 AM
Is it the only purpose for drivers to move? Someone may enjoy driving and handling a car. These driverless cars would be useful for transporting goods as well as for the drivers of handicapped and elderies.

by: Joji from: Queens
May 30, 2014 9:04 PM
They contest the Google Car will be better in some ways, and I think they may well be right. Humans lack the ability to concentrate for any real length of time, and repetitive tasks ease us into mindlessness. Computers can hold speed and distance with far more accuracy than a human, never gets bored or angry or drunk and can recognize patterns. The patterns are actually there in the highway code.

My one question is this – Would the passengers be liable for any accidents? Would Google be liable? It seems like a mess. I have a good driving record and enjoy pretty cheap insurance rates ($26/month from Insurance Panda.. woohoo!). I also enjoy taking my car out for a spin and enjoying the ‘freedom’ of being able to drive anywhere. Will the driverless car allow all this? If not, I’ll have to pass.

Who knows? Maybe insurance as we know it will go away, replaced by any number of models that would more accurately represent the new risk distribution.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More