Google has started building its own driverless cars that simply feature a start button – no steering wheel and no pedals.
Chris Urmson, the project manager at Google, said that the car does not need those items because the car’s software and sensors do all the work of driving.
The small two-seat electric car, with a front end reminiscent of a roboti’s face, monitors its surroundings through a small unit on the roof equipped with multiple sensors and lasers and a camera in the hood.
Google has manufactured approximately 100 of these prototypes. This summer they will begin testing early versions that still retaining manual controls, in case the driver needs to take over.
If those tests go well, Google is hoping to begin an initial pilot program within the next two years in California, according to Urmson.
Although the company has been working on driverless cars for many years this is the first vehicle based on its own chassis.
The prototypes will be very basic with an interior built for learning, not for luxury. Just two seats, buttons to start and stop, and a screen to display the road.
The speed of the cars will be limited to 40 km/h, and is equipped with sensors to eliminate blind spots and detect objects in all directions and at a distance equivalent to the length of more than two football fields.
Photo source: Google