Google’s New Self-Driving Car Prototype

Google has unveiled a working prototype of its self-driving Google Car in California.
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A Self Driving Car Introduced by Google
Google’s self-driving car project enables a car to sense its environment using Radar, Lidar, GPS and computer vision. Reuters

Google has unveiled a working prototype of its self-driving Google Car in California. The vehicle looks like a little beetle pod with two large headlights and a nose at the front and rounded corners.  Once ready, the car will be able to drive, stop for pedestrians, obey traffic signals, watch out for hazards - all without the need for a human driver.

This is the first time since May that Google has revealed plans of a Google manufactured car. So far. the company had been modifying cars such as the Toyota Prius. This move makes Google a car company and means that traditional car manufacturers also look seriously at self-driving cars, or smartcars.

The new Google car resembles the Tata Nano, an Indian car that costs around $2,000, which was designed to be the cheapest car available.

Google's car has headlights so that other cars can spot it easily, and not because the lights will be used by the self driving vehicle, which uses radar signals to maneuver.

On top of the Google car is a physical object like a bubble that looks like an ambulance siren. It has a camera and radar rig for navigation. The Google car does not have a steering wheel, instead it uses sensors to detect objects on the road.

Although the Google car prototype is ready, it will be a long time before it can actually be used as experts worry about the hundreds of situations such as snow piling or sleet, that human drivers are able to negotiate their vehicle through by using their common sense which would be tough to replicate in a machine. Not to mention the problems with regulation that will arise when a car drives itself around the streets and has an accident. Who will be responsible for it, for instance? The car will, moreover, use detailed maps and 3D scans of roadways, which are not yet available for most places.

Google, however, plans for its new car to hit Californian streets by 2015, according to reports in Techcrunch. The company is seeking car manufacturing partners so that self-driven, or autonomous, vehicles can become a reality in the near future. Similar to the Android operating system for handheld devices, Google will install its smartcar software in cars, same as it does for mobiles from different manufacturers.

While it was first unveiled in May 2014, the new Google car has now been tested and is close becoming a commercial product.

According to Techcrunch, Google's co-founder Sergey Brin said he hopes the Google car will transform transportation around the world, and reduce dependency on individual car ownership, while solving parking and traffic problems.

To contact the writer, email: sonali.raj@gmail.com

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