Google Inc., the US technology giant that just announced its own design for a future autonomous car has also disclosed the prototypes could be built in metro Detroit.
According to the company, which has so far put its self-driving technology on top of standard built cars from automakers, mainly Toyota Prius and Lexus SUVs, has now moved to announce that until the year’s end it will have a test drive fleet of more than 100 cars that are self-designed.
The prototypes could be manufactured and assembled by Livonia-based Roush Industries. The car, a small, two-seater driverless car would be unlike any conventional road going car – with no steering wheel, gas or brake pedal. At the push of a button you can tell the car your destination – and the rest would be done autonomously, although for now at a limited top speed of just 25 mph (40 km/h).
“As vehicles become more technology dependent, it makes sense that Google is interested,” says Jared Rowe, president of Kelley Blue Book. “Google will have a lot to learn about automotive manufacturing if they do end up wanting to become a mainstream brand, however. Only time will tell, as we need to make sure that autonomous driving technology works and we can feel safe — inside and outside of the vehicle.”
The test cars also feature and advanced electric powertrain, which allows for a range of 100 miles (160 km). They are equipped with cameras, sophisticated radar and sensors that are necessary to detect the surrounding environment and address the steering/accelerating/braking process.