Google Autonomous Car Is On The Road And Its Cuter Than Ever
Really, how far away are we from autonomous vehicles? Every major corporation has been striving to make one spending berserk amounts of money in the process, which only means that we will get it eventually (why should you research anything if you do not get return on it). However, even though Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Volkswagen and many other companies have been developing autonomous vehicles, the only one doing it properly is, obviously, Google. The Google autonomous car has been revealed six or seven months ago and it was banned from every road when the governing bodies found out that it does not have a steering wheel, pedals or even brakes. According to laws, every vehicle roaming the streets needs to have some form of steering and braking system.
That is why Google went back to the drawing boards and perfected the design, installed the necessary equipment and, a few days ago made a Google+ posting (it’s a miracle we know about it) in which they’ve stated: “The vehicle we unveiled in May was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights! Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.”
Yes, they’ve said it. They have created a full car with real headlights and what is even more impressive, with a much nicer looking 3D Sensing system installed on top of the car. The Google autonomous car has to have that strange looking rotating sensors we have seen numerous times on their test cars such as the Prius and the LexusSUV. Actually, the company producing the sensing system, Velodyne INC. has been working with Google to perfect the system and to reduce its price. We remind you that the 3D sensing system used for Google test cars costs $85.000 each. However, the CEO of the Velodyne INC. said in October 2013 that “Velodyne is working on a prototype of a smaller version for the car companies. The idea is to make it easier to hide, less obvious and less expensive”. The system is called Lidar and we are guessing that this one installed on the newest Google autonomous car is actually a scaled down version which really looks better than its predecessor. The 3D sensing system is located, of course, on the roof and it looks a bit like a police alert light.
Despite getting much the same look as before, the new autonomous car is actually differentiated with the installation of the real world apparatus such as lights, steering wheel, brake pedal and updated sensing equipment as well as better software to manage all of that. Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures of the inside of the car but the outside suggests that the Google car looks just the way it should – its cuddly, cute and lovable! Its like it came from the future and, it just might be that it did.
We do not know when are we going to be able to use autonomous cars, but some say that the first usable vehicles will be on the roads in 2020 (Nissan). The Google car is a bit more distant. Google has to look into some issues, but this real world prototype shows that the autonomous cars are not just science fiction -they will be real, and they will certainly change the way we drive and the way we live our lives. Right now, there are more than 1000 autonomous cars all over the world. Various companies are performing tests and we can conclude that we will have an operative vehicle in the next ten years (if Nissan does not lie, than five).
Test Drive of the Google car prototype from May: