The two-seated, Smart look-alike Google autonomous cars will be heading to the streets of Mountain View, California in summer.
After the test fleet already completed one million test drive miles with some reported accidents, 25 new models will join the effort to make autonomous driving technology part of the foreseeable future.
Automakers highly rely on Google’s frontrunner anticipated success. It is expected that once implemented, the technology will significantly reduce the human error factor that is responsible for 90 percent of 1.2 million road deaths reported worldwide. At the same time, benefits could include the relief of traffic congestion and considerable aid for the elderly and disabled persons.
For now, 25 pods will be roaming the California streets. 50 to 100 will be joining the testing on different routes at a later stage with different routes than the already planned ones. Different degrees of risks need to be assessed.
The 25 autonomous pods are now under California safety regulations. They are only allowed to drive at 25 miles per hour and safety drivers will be joining just to initially map the progress. Although the cars are equipped to recognize road hazards, the drivers will have their steering wheel and pedals.
It will be interesting to see how drivers react in traffic at sight of these new electric driverless cars. The prototypes are autonomous for a length of 80 miles, after which they need recharging.
It shouldn’t be understood that Google intends to join the ranks of automakers. The company’s declared purpose since 2010 when it started working on the technology is simply to develop autonomous driving tech that will benefit the car-making industry.
With tests being conducted continuously, Google has every chance to make this happen. Prototypes have been under the scrutiny of interested players, yet the self-driving cars might still take years until they are made available to the public.
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