May 28, 2014
Google is building its first prototype self-driving carówith no steering wheel, acceleration pedal or brake.
Until now, Google has focused on adapting existing car models with its self-driving technology, and has driven hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads using Lexus SUVs and Toyota Prius models fitted with special equipment.
But Google co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters that the firm is to make 100 prototype cars that drive themselves.
They will be operated using two simple buttonsógo and stopóand navigate using GPS, sensors and camera data.
Google is unlikely to move into large-scale car manufacturing, and the firm says it plans to work with other companies to "bring this technology into the world safely" if the prototypes are successful.
Brin said: "The main reason we wanted to develop this prototype vehicle is that we can do a better job than we can do with an existing vehicle.
"The experience feels different. You're just sitting there, no steering wheel, no pedals - for me it was very relaxing. In about 10 seconds after getting in, I forgot I was there. It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable."
In a blog post, Google said that by building its own car it could star with a "blank sheet of paper."
"We started with the most important thing: safety.
"(The prototypes) have sensors that remove blind spots, and they can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions.
"This is especially helpful on busy streets with lots of intersections."
The post added: "Ever since we started the Google self-driving car project, we've been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving.
"Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can't keep their car keys.
"And drunk and distracted driving? History."
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