Published on May 30th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan12
Google Unveils Its 1st Completely Self-Driving Car, To Build 100 Prototypes
May 30th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
Google has surprised me and many others with a huge announcement this week. With manufacturing partners in Michigan, it has now built a completely self-driving car. Naturally, it’s electric! It’s also super cute (imho). The Google self-driving car doesn’t include a steering wheel or pedals at all. It simply has an on/off switch; a small screen to show you the route, weather, and maybe a little more (no ads); and 2 seats + seatbelts.
The car has a range of 100 miles on a full charge, according to Google, and is limited to a max speed of 25 mph (40 km/h). The cute face you notice was specifically designed like that to make people have nicer feelings towards the car and the new (potentially scary) technology. It looks nothing like the self-driving cars Google has tested for years, as those were adaptations of conventional vehicles. That cute face is actually a bit nicer than the front of a conventional car, too. It uses a soft foam and flexible windshield in order to reduce injuries inflicted on any humans or animals that might knock into the car or get knocked into by the car.
It seems Google isn’t teaming up with Tesla (yet) on these self-driving cars, as Google has stated that its auto manufacturing partners are based in Michigan (and Roush Technologies seems to be one of them). Both Google and Nissan intend to get self-driving cars of some sort into production by 2020, but as far as I’m aware, they’ve been talking about cars much more similar to conventional cars and ones that aren’t 100% autonomous like these Google prototypes are. Elon Musk has also stated that Tesla was taking a different approach because he thought Google’s Lidar-based approach would be too expensive. Elon has also stated that he thinks it’s “likely” that Tesla will bring the first autonomous car to market.
It’s very hard to believe that Elon’s Tesla and best buddy Larry Page’s Google won’t team up on self-driving cars down the road, but maybe they really won’t.
By the way, Google (with unnamed partners) is building 100 of these prototype self-driving electric cars. It envisions them eventually being used in a type of carsharing or taxi service, and they can be “summoned” using a smartphone. The future is now!
Here’s a bit more info as well as a video and a non-Google video with more discussions around self-driving cars via EV Obsession:
What does the future of transportation hold? Flying cars? Self-driving cars? An all-electric transportation world? Of course, I think the latter is on the way, but I also think self-driving cars will be a great complement to electric cars and are another…
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
Own or lease an electric car? Complete out EV Owner/Lessee Survey.