Google surprised the automobile sector this morning – and us as well. That the internet giant has been testing autonomous driving on other vehicles was no secret. But this might be the closest it has gotten to demonstrate its vision for the future of mobility. Google presented its first vehicle prototype – a two seater with an electric drivetrain, but without a steering wheel or pedals. A push of a button is enough and thanks to cameras, sensors, and complex software, the car can navigate on its own. Purely electric, of course.
If we believe the promotional video, the technology already works quite smoothly. The first passengers are impressed and say that they felt safe during the ride. The EV recognised hurdles in time, slowed ahead of curves and sped up again thereafter. The prototype’s maximum speed has been limited to 40 km/h (25 mph) and it has very basic design. In short: it looks nothing like the current automobile trends.
On its blog, Google announced that it will start by building 100 test vehicles and commence a comprehensive trial this summer. If everything goes according to plan, a small pilot project will then get underway in California, USA. But the company does plan on a few more years of research and development, before autonomous driving is ready for everyday life.
And short brain teaser at the end: What would happen if California pioneers Google and Tesla were to team up? Considering the available capital, Google’s new role as producer of renewable energies and Elon Musk’s ambitious Gigafactory project and autonomous driving goals – the mere thought could make the one or other carmaker start to sweat.
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