The latest iteration of Google’s driverless car prototype – the pod-like two-seater barren of pedals or steering wheel – is expected to make its official public debut on public roads later on this summer.
This would mark a crucial step in the technology’s revolutionary mission of introducing autonomous driving for commercial purposes in the next half a decade in a bid to have computer-controlled vehicles that can avoid human error – lifting safety and decreasing traffic jams. According to Google, their prototypes are the first vehicles built from the ground up for self-driving – it’s apparent to a Smart car with two places and its recognizing feature is the black bowler hat. The sensors in there are responsible for the vehicle’s ability to steer, brake and avoid road hazards without any human intervention. The vehicle is also a step up from the one premiered back last May by Google, which lacked certain crucial features – such as working lights.
The latest iteration has not been developed for certain applications – it can’t embark on a long trip or a joyride. It has no airbags and other US mandated safety features, which limits its top speed to 25 miles per hour. Its electric drivetrain requires a recharge every 80 miles and it’s only able to drive itself into zones that have been previously specialty mapped by Google. The technology giant wants to construct an initial batch of 25 pods to use them in the area surrounding its Mountain View headquarters – then have around 50 to 100 units and a broader testing range that would include hills or rain heavy zones.