Google’s new self-driving car is a tiny two-seater with no manual controls

This is a discussion on Google’s new self-driving car is a tiny two-seater with no manual controls within the Off-Topic forums, part of the Apple Forums category; Google has taken its self-driving car concept a step further by integrating the technology onto its own prototype vehicle powered by electricity. The tiny two-seater ...

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    Google’s new self-driving car is a tiny two-seater with no manual controls



    Google has taken its self-driving car concept a step further by integrating the technology onto its own prototype vehicle powered by electricity. The tiny two-seater is made using off-the-shelf car parts, and it does not require a steering wheel or pedals.

    Previously retrofitted to vehicles made by Toyota and Lexus, Google’s self-driving car technology uses a bunch of sensors and on-board computers to drive itself — without any input from a human. You just tell it where you need to go and it’ll take you there — kind of like those robot-driven taxis in Total Recall, but without the creepy robot.

    The search giant’s new prototype vehicle, which was announced by Google co-founder Sergey Brin at the Recode conference this week, will have no manual controls — though early versions will be equipped with them just in case something goes wrong.

    Around 100 cars will be built initially as part of a pilot program that will take place in California over the next couple of years.





    If the pilot goes well, Google will eventually team up with partners “to bring this technology into the world safely.” The company hopes to be able to create a vehicle in which the passengers’ “number one job is to kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride” — but of course, safety is the primary concern.

    Self-driving cars are intended to be safer than traditional ones. By eliminating the possibility of human error on the road and using technology that reacts faster than humans do, Google hopes to one day reduce the more than one million auto accidents we have worldwide every year.

    It’s likely to be some time before we all have self-driving cars sat in our garages, of course, but those living in California may be able to hitch a ride in one in the not-so-distant future.





    5-28-14

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    FBI: Google’s self-driving cars may become ‘game-changing lethal weapons’



    Self-driving cars, such as Google’s experimental vehicles, will be available to buyers in coming years, but the FBI is not particularly thrilled about their arrival, The Guardian has learned from a restricted report obtained under a public records requests.

    The FBI says that criminals may use this “game-changing” technology to perform various other activities while the car drives itself, in order to escape police and/or harm others. The FBI said that autonomous cars “will have a high impact on transforming what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a car.”

    The agency envisions smart criminals who would be able to customize the software found onboard of such smart cars to evade chasers by bypassing rules of the road. Having their hands free during a chase would also let them shoot at pursuers from their getaway cars. Furthermore, in other scenarios, self-driving cars could be programmed to hit certain targets after being filled with explosives – what the FBI describes as “lethal weapons.”

    However, the FBI also acknowledges the fact that self-driving cars will be useful to regular consumers, and could lead to a “substantial” reduction of accidents caused by various human errors.

    The agency also says that just as smart cars can help criminals evade law enforcement, they’ll also help police and agencies tail suspects and chase them in a smarter way.

    “Surveillance will be made more effective and easier, with less of a chance that a patrol car will lose sight of a target vehicle,” says the report. “In addition, algorithms can control the distance that the patrol car is behind the target to avoid detection or intentionally have a patrol car make opposite turns at intersections, yet successfully meet up at later points with the target.”

    Meanwhile, Google’s cutesy cars are far from becoming the threats the FBI envisions them to be in worst case scenarios. As the publication points out, Google’s “current state-of-the-art” vehicle can’t drive faster than 25mph, which isn’t exactly the kind of getaway speed criminal would appreciate.





    7-16-14

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