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Google building self-driving cars with no driver seat, steering wheels

2014-09-19 00:00:15
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Google Inc is building cars that don't have steering wheels, accelerator pedals or brake pedals, in an ambitious expansion of the Internet company's efforts to develop self-driving cars.

The small electric cars, which seat two passengers, are currently prototypes that Google has been building through partnerships with automotive suppliers and manufacturers, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said at the Code conference in Southern California on Tuesday.

Google aims to build up to 200 such cars in the near term and hopes the vehicles will be available in various cities within a couple of years, he said.

Google has been testing self-driving cars since 2009, incorporating laser sensors and radars into standard automobiles such as the Prius from Toyota Motor Corp and sport-utility vehicles from Toyota luxury car division Lexus.

While those vehicles require a human to remain in the driver's seat and to take over in certain situations, the new cars operate completely autonomously.

Brin said the cars could operate as a service, picking up passengers when summoned, and potentially even operate as fleets of interconnected "trains".

"Ten seconds after getting in I was doing my email, I had forgotten I was there," Brin said of his experience riding in one of the pod-like vehicles, which resemble a cross between a Smart car and Volkswagen Beetle. "It ultimately reminded me of catching a chairlift."

Brin declined to specify whether Google intended to build and sell the cars itself, saying only that the company would "work with partners".

The driverless cars are currently limited to a maximum speed of 25 miles (40 km) an hour, but Brin said there was no reason the cars could not go as fast as 100 miles an hour or more once they had been proven to be safe.

The front of the cars contain about 2 feet (61 cm) of foam and the windshield is made out of plastic instead of glass to make the cars safer, he said.

"Within a couple of years I hope we will surpass the safety metrics we've put in place, which is to be significantly safer than a human driver, and we will start testing them without drivers and hopefully you'll be able to utilize them at some limited cities," Brin said.

A handful of U.S. states, including California and Nevada, have passed legislation to allow testing of self-driving cars on public roads. Brin said he was optimistic that the new, passenger-only self-driving cars would be approved for testing in the U.S. and overseas in the future.

(Editing by Christopher Cushing)

(Source : Reuters)


  Comments - 13

  • Great Grat Sunday, 21 September 2014 10:54

    wow Much better than pawul paksa man...Great Harin

    Reply : 1       2

    Sue Sunday, 21 September 2014 11:05

    Jayawewa Harin. For heavens sake don't even dream of crossing over now. Think of Dayasiri if you have any thoughts on this line. What respect you won will be lost forever.

    Reply : 0       2

    Udeny Dayarathna Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:31

    Yes, that's very true ! Stay in the party, end is in sight for the UPFA !

    Reply : 0       2

    Ammaa Sunday, 21 September 2014 11:22

    Harin resign from UNP and PC member, you are great, you fit for common candidate, talk to every one and decide , you made history. Many more histories, teach good lesson to cheap politicians like MR and Dayasiri, RW or sajith nothing, you have good personalities All will support you, you can do the best and resign and join UNP, for the people and country, sure all opposition parties and many government supporters definitely vote for you, need lot of good records in politics, srilanka have good politician, all youngsters are happy of you

    Reply : 0       3

    ns Sunday, 21 September 2014 11:40

    You should be given the chance to rebuild the UNP with Sajith.Ranil will do the rest of the work. Harin jayaweva !

    Reply : 0       0

    meranchim Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:00

    Who is the chief minister now....i

    Reply : 0       0

    ayesha Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:05

    great hero Harin

    Reply : 0       0

    Labby Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:12

    well played Harin

    Reply : 0       0

    Danny Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:13

    This is how UNPers like Harin. Not entire population of Badulla District. This is his popularity among the party.

    Reply : 0       0

    Namal Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:37

    Now UNP must understand to make Harin Deputy Leader, Sajith Leader and RW to continue as opposition Leader and Managala to be National Organizer and complete overhaul of the structure. If not until 2023 MR will be in power and young blood like Harin will be wasteful and no young characters can be groomed. So, it so high time for the party Leader to decide to step down as a leader and change entire party constitution. If not UNP will be buried for ever.

    Reply : 0       0

    Gamini Sunday, 21 September 2014 12:43

    Harin can change UNP future. Now Mr Ranil wickramasighe ,please appoint Sajith As deputy to you and allow him to work independently to bring back UNP to the Winning stream. Harin is good to be the national organizer. we need More and more Young People like HARIN. God bless you..

    Reply : 0       0

    DN Sunday, 21 September 2014 13:00

    88% UNP voters, voted for Harin compared to only 68% for Shashindra from UPFA base. Harin is the people's Chief Minister.

    Reply : 0       1

    Ryan Monday, 22 September 2014 04:30

    Utter waste of votes and selfish game played.

    Reply : 2       0

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