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Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
Thomas Claburn, InformationWeek
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Google's Self-Driving Cars Have No Steering Wheel

The future of driving looks like a Disneyland ride, but less fun.

Google hopes to get its self-driving cars ready for public deployment by 2018. And though reality and politics might push the date back, the company is pressing ahead with a new round of prototypes. Google calls its latest experimental vehicles "self-driving cars" but they don't look much like cars on the inside because they're missing many of the controls we expect in a car.

Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car project, in a blog post says the company is developing prototypes for fully automated vehicles. Unlike the Toyota Prius fleet that Google has been using to test its self-driving car systems, these new prototypes have been designed without steering wheels, accelerator pedals, or brake pedals because those controls won't be necessary.

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"Our software and sensors do all the work," explains Urmson. "The vehicles will be very basic -- we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible -- but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people. "

These prototypes will be no-frills cabins on wheels. Their speed will be capped at 25 mph and their interiors will be spartan. You'll get two seats, luggage space, start and stop buttons, and a screen to display the route.

[ Read the rest of this article on InformationWeek. ]

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Becca L
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Becca L,
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5/31/2014 | 11:26:37 PM
re: Google's Self-Driving Cars Have No Steering Wheel
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I should be watching Silicon Valley.... Well, I'd be very happy.

I know what you mean, Kelly. It's an unnerving change. Removing human error has its benefits! But it also removes human intuition, the benefits of which is an interesting argument in itself (see the recent I&T post http://www.insurancetech.com/b... )

Imagine a future generation wowed that we once manually drove cars, on our own, without computers. The horror.
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
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5/29/2014 | 10:03:05 PM
re: Google's Self-Driving Cars Have No Steering Wheel
You should see the episode of HBO's Silicon Valley that involved a driver-less car.
Kelly22
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Kelly22,
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5/29/2014 | 4:04:52 PM
re: Google's Self-Driving Cars Have No Steering Wheel
I know that this is supposed to make driving safer, but the idea of having so little control over a car would make me nervous. I also wonder about the implications these cars will have for auto insurers, though that's very far down the road.
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