Google unveils self-driving car, brakes and steering wheel not included

Steering wheels? Who needs them?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Google has been working on autonomous vehicles for several years now, and has unveiled a prototype without steering wheels or braking systems.

After all, why would you need them? The cars drive themselves.

The small, compact prototype cars have sensors which remove blind spots, and each vehicle can detect objects "to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions," according to the firm. The cars have two seatbelt-equipped seats apiece, space for belongings and a screen which displays the car's route. Only 'stop' and 'start' buttons give a driver (passenger?) some control over the car's motion.

Chris Urmson, Director of Google's Self-Driving Car Project said:

"They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal [..] because they don't need them. Our software and sensors do all the work.

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."

The prototype will not be for public use, but Google hopes to have 100 of the models on public roads within a year -- despite their maximum speed of 25mph. If these prototypes do venture on to public roads, however, they will need to have a wheel and pedals due to California regulations. Google's pilot is likely to begin by ferrying employees between buildings over the firm's campus and headquarters.

Read on: Associated Press | NY Times | Google

Image credit: Google

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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