While this may be an effort to distract users from the recent issues found in a number of their Model X vehicles, the result of Musk’s instructions is certainly amusing.
Normally, when you put a Tesla Model S or Model X into autopilot mode, the instrument display switches over to show a car travelling down a road, which is used to indicate where the car believes it is on the current road or lane it is in as well as any cars it detects nearby. Typically, this road is just like any other, normal and gray, but after the latest software update activating Autopilot four times sequentially changes this into the far more exciting Rainbow Road of Mario Kart fame.
It’s not just Rainbow Road either, also included is the cowbell audio from the famous Saturday Night Live sketch that plays over the stereo. Thanks to Brian Stucki for sharing a clip of this feature in action.
Exactly what this “more cowbell” that Musk refers to is currently unknown, but Tesla’s car software containing easter eggs is nothing new. Afterall, the Model S has a James Bond Mode, which turns the representation of the car in on the in-car display into the submersible Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me.
When it comes to technology, people are constantly told to test it before release. Car makers are being warned that they need to slow down the release of automated driving in order to help people find and understand the risks and dangers of having a machine make decisions which will ultimately affect thousands on a daily basis, and with large companies like Tesla and Apple looking to get in on the automated car business, everyone wants to be safe before their cars hit the road. The site for Apple’s testing may have become revealed, though, in a brand new CITE.
No that is not a spelling mistake, CITE stands for The Center for Innovation Testing and Evaluation, a 15 square miles of desert located within New Mexico. Set to cost around $1 billion and begin sometime this year, Pegasus Global Holding will begin the construction of the city for 35,000 people, but no one will ever live there.
Dubbed a “City lab” the city will feature everything from hospitals and highways to schools and could be used for testing self-driving transportation and green energy systems, with a research campus designed to help people study and understand technology on a city-wide scale before it’s released to the real world. With an estimated operational date of 2018, it could be a while before we see a city that’s fully automated, which is all good for us as long as they don’t name any of the systems Skynet or the Red Queen.
When it comes to vehicles, there are two new technologies that people are looking forward to. First off there are electric vehicles, with Tesla’s new Model 3 getting billions of dollars worth of pre-orders, then there is the move to automated vehicles. With driverless vehicles gaining momentum, a set of self-driving trucks have hit the roads of Europe in a demonstration that’s set to show the technology off to the world.
Six manufacturers took part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge, courtesy of the Dutch Government. Truck platooning refers to the ability for automated trucks to follow one another in close procession, making use of a slipstream to reduce carbon dioxide and fuel usage.
Travelling from different parts of Europe to the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with companies like Volvo and Daimler watching as their vehicles picked up cargo from the port before heading back to different locations all around Europe.
With more and more people being interested in driver-less technology it was only a matter of time before it went from the streets to the race track. Formula E have already announced their intention to start a driverless championship, but you can even get a glimpse at the designs behind the first driverless racecar.
Roborace, the world’s first driverless series, released renderings of what their first designs for what autonomous racing cars could look like, and they do not disappoint. Designed by Chief Design Officer Daniel Simon, known for his work on Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, the designs look perfect for a vehicle that no longer has to worry about their driver, offering people the chance to enjoy great looking vehicles doing insane speeds around a track.
While we still have to wait till 2017 before we get to enjoy the series featuring all-electric cars, just seeing the first design reminds us of its potential.
With a trailer to go alongside the design rendering, when will we get to see the next design? With the ability for anyone in the automated vehicle business to take part in the championship, we could soon see designs from big names in both technology and cars manufacturing as they get ready to view and race their cars doing high-speed around tracks.
People like using things which are easy to navigate and control. This may be the reason for the recent boom of car sharing app’s and systems in place. With people using systems like Uber to quickly call a taxi and having someone pick you up with ease saving you precious minutes (and $$$) when you need to get somewhere. With the use of automated cars though you could see as many as 400 million users relying on robotic car sharing by 2030.
You wake up and realise you are running late to work. You send a quick text to request a pickup and start getting ready, within half hour a car is sitting outside your house and you are off to work. You’re not driving, and neither is your work colleague who is sharing the same car because he lives in the next set of buildings down the road. Robotic cars could soon see you doing away with steering wheels and instead rely on LiDAR technology and exterior cameras to drive you safely to work.
We all know that Ford is one of many companies that are looking at self-driving cars. They’ve even tested their cars in the snow, a weather most of us don’t like driving in at the best of times. What do you do when you don’t have to drive? That half hour trip to and from work every day, or the four-hour drive to see family. Ford has an answer and that’s to keep you entertained with a movie in your self-driving car.
Ford has recently filed for, and obtained, a patent that relates to “autonomous vehicle entertainment system”. What this actually means if you will be able to put your feet up as a screen comes down over the front of the car, letting you enjoy as the projector between your seats brings you the latest in entertainment.
That’s right, you will be able to enjoy a cinema experience while being driven around by your car. In flight movies built into your car doesn’t sound all that bad does it?
Personally, I like the idea of having something to do in your car, but would you feel safe staring at a screen while you are driven down the motorway at high speed with no one watching out for the broken car or driver that crashes into your favourite automated car.
We use them every day, sometimes we pay a lot of attention and sometimes we just forget about them as we go about our business. I’m obviously talking about chairs, from the PL-6000 Gaming Chairs to those simple little pieces of plastic that you get at schools and offices. So why not use some technology to upgrade them, that’s what Nissan thought at least when they decided to use their self-driving car technology to upgrade their office chairs.
Typically self-driving cars can go from A to B, even managing to park themselves. Amongst the many car companies, Nissan is one of many companies working on self-driving cars for some time now, but in their latest reveal, they’ve put that very same technology into the office chairs, enabling them to “park themselves” at the clap of a hand.
Using computers hidden within the base of the chairs and a central command unit, the chairs are given their commands and return to their tables, neatly tucking away after a busy day in the office. In the video, it shows the chairs used in everything from boardrooms to classroom set ups.
While they have no plans to produce the technology and furniture for the public, I can see plenty of offices and schools wanting to save those precious moments at the end of the day when you just want to go home.
People love the idea of technology making their lives easier, be it a new gadget or an old one remade. Some of the bigger gadgets that people are looking forward are self-driving cars. Ranging from being too safe for urban areas to self-driving shuttle buses, people and governments are all interested in the idea of being driven everywhere, while some are concerned about just who is responsible, the driver or the software? This could change with regulators looking to agree on who is a “driver”.
With most self-driving cars requiring a driver, Google’s submission of a self-driving car which doesn’t require human input means that putting your feet up and letting the car go is just a step away. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has responded by saying that in these cars, it will “interpret driver” as the self-driving system within the vehicle and not one of the people within the vehicle.
In their response, the NHTSA remarked that “We agree with Google it’s [self-driving car] will not have a ‘driver’ in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years”. California has even proposed rules that even in self-driving cars, you will still require a licensed driver and a steering wheel.
The next generation of Uber could be a self-driving shuttle from your house to wherever you want to go to. Do you like the idea of pressing a button and hopping in a taxi without a driver?
The race to develop self-driving cars is very competitive, with a growing number of companies doing their utmost to beat out the competition to develop the technology. One company, in particular, is taking self-driving car technology very seriously, Tesla, who have already rolled out a very limited form of the technology to their popular Model S. Now according to Electrek, Elon Musk’s car company have recently hired a veteran of processor design, Jim Keller to assume the lead of their Autopilot hardware engineering team.
Exactly what Keller will be working on a Tesla is currently undisclosed, with there being no implications that Tesla will be developing in-house microprocessors to use in their vehicles’ systems. Self-driving systems like Tesla’s Autopilot certainly require a lot of processing power in a tight space, however, and Tesla intends to make full use of Keller’s hardware engineering experience and especially his low-power design expertise.
Keller himself is a renowned and respected figure in his field, having worked on a number of AMD’s flagship processors over the years, including their upcoming Zen architecture. Not only that, but he has held a high-profile engineering role at Apple where he played a crucial role in the development of their A4 and A5 processors, which went on to power most of Apple’s mobile devices and Apple TVs from 2010 to 2012.
Could Keller’s expertise be just what Tesla needs to transform their Autopilot technology from a limited option to a fully fledged driving assist or self-driving system? The right hardware could allow the company to solve the tough computational problems that come with such systems.
The development of self-driving cars promises to offer consumers an exciting future, now, regulators in the sprawling metropolis known as California have published draft proposals aimed at paving the way for consumers to legally use self-driving cars on the road.
Included within the recommendations from the Department of Motor Vehicles is the stipulation that a fully licensed human driver must be present behind the wheel in case the technology fails or decides to drive into the nearest hedge. I understand the fully licensed bit, but I would have thought the whole point of a self-driving car is for people to easily travel from A – B in the car. The new regulations also stipulate that users must undergo “special training” and manufacturers must monitor the cars use.
Technology giant Google has experimented to the point whereby a vehicle does not even need a steering wheel or pedals, this sounds impressive, albeit slightly dangerous, for the foreseeable future at least. So much so that the DMV recommends all self-driving vehicles to be equipped with traditional controls. The draft regulations also provide requirements for self-driving cars to be protected from cyber attacks; it will be interesting to see how manufacturers respond to this considering very little is immune from hacks in the digital age.
Many fans and experts alike envisage a future whereby a driving licence is obsolete and even non-drivers are able to metaphorically drive, sounds good until you factor in the many issues including longer traffic jams as more people are able to use a vehicle, only time will tell as to the path with which this new breed of tech will follow.
Formula E has become quite popular since its 2014 debut season and renowned for incredible racing which is all too often absent from modern Formula One. The field contains electric high-powered vehicles and provides an insight into the future of motorsport. The organization is also preparing for a new series involving driverless cars tackling the world’s toughest circuits at breakneck speeds. Formula E’s chief executive Alejandro Agag said:
“Roborace is an open challenge to the most innovative scientific and technology-focused companies in the world,”
Furthermore, a financial backer of the project, Denis Sverdlov described the announcement with a great deal of enthusiasm:
“We passionately believe that, in the future, all of the world’s vehicles will be assisted by AI and powered by electricity, thus improving the environment and road safety.”
“Roborace is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far.”
Vehicle technology is progressing at such a rapid pace and it will be fascinating to see how AI drivers compete in a world championship event. Additionally, removing the human element and danger allows the cars to progress around corners at greater speeds. I cannot wait to see the championship unfold and uncertain how the series is going to be conducted in terms of TV coverage.
Would you feel comfortable in an automated vehicle?
Tech companies used to be very much specialized to their own field, from the standard PCs and Software to advanced medical equipment. Over the last few years, these same companies are now beginning to challenge the established status quo of many other industries, such as the automotive industry. The rumours of Apple designing a vehicle have become stronger after hiring a senior engineer from electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc
Apple have been looking to build a team of automotive design experts with the aim of producing a car for market and now James Carlson has been appointed after leaving Tesla. How do we know of these secret plans? He placed his new job on his LinkedIn or course, this is along with at least 6 others which have experience developing self-driving technology and systems which have also advertised their new position in the same way.
Sources for Reuters have also stated that Apple are actively developing a car and studying self-driving technology, but it is yet unclear if the iPhone maker is designing a vehicle that could drive itself.
When you view the hirings which Apple have made, it is clear the plans are very much in motion, below is a list of recent appointments along with each individual’s previous jobs.
Megan McClain – A former Volkswagen AG Engineer
Vinay Palakkode – Graduate researcher at Carnegie Mellon University specializing in automated driving research
Xianqiao Tong – Engineer who developed computer vision software for driver assistance systems at microchip maker Nvidia Corp
Paul Furgale – Former deputy director of the Autonomous Systems Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Other Apple appointments since September 2014 with similar experience have worked at automakers BMW, Volkswagen and Ford Motor Co, automotive suppliers Delphi Automotive and Robert Bosch GmbH.
One thing is clear, Apple looks almost certain to be developing an automotive vehicle in some capacity with the aim of competing with similar manufacturers. The tech giant would have an excellent chance of succeeding considering the wealth and investment which has underpinned its performance in the last decade.
Thank you reuters for providing us with this information
We have heard a lot of news about self-driving cars, mostly from Google, in the past years and they have already come a long way. The main focus in this area has been on reduction of accident rates, general safety, as well as freeing up your time. We’ve also seen how they can improve the quality of life for people who can’t drive any normal car, blind people for example.
A recently published study from Berkley Lab has found more good reasons for us humans to make the switch and the main one is the reduction of greenhouse gasses. The study suggests that switching the transportation grid from conventional vehicles to autonomous electric taxis could cut greenhouse gas emission levels up to 90 percent by 2030. Those numbers are of course the best case scenario where everyone plays ball and the infrastructure follows with charging stations and green power plants.
Transportation has to be smart. A lot of the times you don’t need that big car of yours to get around in, it’s just an unnecessary load to carry around. Automatic driving could also allow for very tight packed traffic that eliminates wind resistance and thereby reduces the energy needed and it would be able to pick the smartest route on any given time.
That is very optimistic and the researchers know that we as humans just won’t do that. There are too many people who would resist parts of it or all of it and they also got some good news on a smaller scale. If we just had self-driving taxis and they made up 5 percent of 2030’s estimated car sales (about 800,000 machines), they would cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2.4 million tons per year.
Thank You Engadget for providing us with this information
Do you live in Austin, Texas? Then you may want to keep on the look out for the Google Cars that are now patrolling your part of the world. Several people have been reporting online that they’ve seen the self-driving cars scooting around town recently. That being said, the Google Car isn’t exactly hard to spot, just look for white Lexus with a massive spinning camera on the top and a rather distinctive Google badge on the side; they’re not exactly stealthy.
Google said they’ve taken the cars to downtown Austin to test “our software in different driving environments, traffic patterns and road conditions.”
This is the first city Google has visited outside of Mountain View, when asked why they chose that city in particular, Google responded “We’ve loved how much Austin embraces innovation.” It’s also a clear winner as the city has Google Fiber and there’s a few Google offices within Austin, making it an easy choice for many of the employees there.
The cars still have two onboard drivers, ready to take the controls again should they run into any rival self-driving cars. Best of luck Google, I’m looking forward to a future of being able to put have a nap in the car on the way to work!
Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.
Self-driving cars are becoming more and more common everywhere we look (in news at least); the key player in this is Google. For the autonomous scheme to be accepted by California law, the company needs to provide proof of the number of accidents that the autonomous vehicles were involved in and of that, how many were the cause. Well, the results are good, well they’re better than good.
Seven of the accidents involved the car being rear ended, at least one was the result of another driver running a red light and the rest were human errors; where a human was in control for whatever reason. Google has been testing these vehicles on the road since 2009, so those figures are very encouraging for those who wouldn’t want to trust a car with no one in control.
Despite the figures, the cars themselves won’t be ready for consumer purchase for a few years yet; mainly down to the fact that a few states in America have laws which govern the use of autonomous vehicles on the public highway. These laws are still relatively new though, so I’d bet on them being changed very soon; especially with the recent news of a Big Rig/ 18 wheeler/ artic lorry being given a ‘licence’ in Nevada.
Would you trust being in such a vehicle? Imagine the carnage if someone managed to hack all the vehicles in a certain area, adding say 10MPH onto the speed or setting the internal GPS to a few foot to one direction. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Google has worked on improving the safety features of their self-driving cars for some time now. Despite that, the cars have seen their fair share of accidents, all of which the company claims it was not the fault of their cars.
Some accidents involved other cars hitting the rear of the self-driving vehicles, others hitting them sideways and there is word of a case where a self-driving car was hit by a driver who went through a red light. This means that Google has successfully achieved their goal of providing state of the art algorithms that are more attentive than a human. However, other consequences may arise from these ultra-safe rules.
Google and other manufacturers that activate in the autonomous vehicles market have managed to prove that self-driving cars are a lot safer than humans. But sometimes, a human’s recklessness may prove to come in handy in urban environments. For example, in crowded areas, a self-driving car’s algorithm may keep the car from ‘pushing forward’ as people continuously walk in front of it.
In the above situations, a human would get tired of waiting at some point and push forward. This does not mean that he will hit other people, rather than he knows that people would jump out-of-the-way and stop. Also, if a pedestrian is not looking and still heading in front of the car, a human can quickly react and stop the vehicle to prevent the accident.
This is just one of many situations a computer is not capable of understanding and coping with, marking it as the last milestone between the extremely safe and ‘shy’ cars that are just entering the market and the fully fledged autonomous vehicles we see in sci-fi movies. So having said all of the above, would you troll a self-driving vehicle on the streets?
Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
We love to hear about new car technology at eTeknix; Electric Vehicles (EVs) and autonomous driving have caught our eye a lot recently. Self-driving cars have given us a look into the future and now it seems the next step has come to pass, self-driving trucks.
American truck company, Daimler, has now put the finishing touches on their semi-autonomous truck. This can now legally operate on the highways of Nevada thanks to thousands of hours and miles of rigorous testing. It had to drive over 10,000 miles on a self-contained circuit in Germany before it was ‘granted’ a license. Nevada governor, Brian Sandoval, has officially granted the “Freightliner Inspiration Truck” a license for road use in the state, giving it the status of “First of its kind” to navigate public roads in the US.
The system, dubbed “Highway Pilot System” isn’t fully autonomous, it operates by cameras, radars and hundreds of other sensors, but still requires a human input from behind the wheel; this system sounds more like a highway co-driver and the human driver has to take over for manoeuvring off the highway. When the system takes over, the sensors and computers then take charge of maintaining a legal speed, lane selection and maintaining braking distance from the car in front. This then frees up the driver to take on other tasks like stock take and route planning and scheduling.
Currently, there are only two of these trucks in operation and it’s unclear whether more will be made. I actually like the sound of this, the little black box in The Simpsons has now become a reality, but surely this is just another step towards ‘Robots taking over jobs’? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Thank you to engadget for providing us with this information.
Following on from the news we brought you two weeks ago, The Audi Q5, equipped with Delphi Corp’s radar, cameras and laser sensors, has completed its epic 15-state, 3400 miles road trip from San Francisco to New York. The car mostly stuck to travelling on the various highways between the states, but what’s more impressive is that the self-driving feature managed a near perfect run, having the autonomous systems handle 99% of the journey.
“We expected we would be in autonomous mode most of the time, but to be in it close to 99 percent of the time was a pleasant surprise,” Owens told The Associated Press Thursday. “The equipment was flawless.”
Traffic was weaving around in a construction zone, there were some police cars on the right side that warranted an extra clear lane for which the driver took control of the wheel, but that’s hardly a big deal as this was a trial run and the car still scored exceptionally well. Some members of the public however, didn’t think too fondly of the car, as it stuck rigorously to the speed limit, even when other drivers we not. This prompted several members of the public to make “a few hateful gestures” at the car and its occupants.
After collecting 3TB of data from the trip, Delphi will now improve the systems which are expected to start appearing in Audi and Volvo cars within two years.
Thank you psys.org for providing us with this information.
Airbags are the main protection feature inside a car, aiding in protecting the driver and passengers from serious harm in the event of a violent accident. However, we still don’t have anything to protect the car itself or the objects it might hit.
Google has been thinking about adding an extra protection feature to the exterior of its self-driving cars and came up with the idea of having external airbags. As shown in a patent filed by the company, it looks like its self-driving cars might come with a new revolutionary protection feature in the near future.
The external airbags are said to help protect the car, other cars or even people if an unfortunate accident occurs. However, the airbags might have an opposite effect on people, sending them flying and suffering more severe injuries. Google apparently thought about this problem and came up with a solution which involves a visco-elastic material that would have a bit of give to help prevent serious injury.
Though the idea might become a reality in Google’s hands, it’s worth pointing out that Volvo was the first to think about this solution. External airbags seem to have a lot of potential on paper, but do they really do the trick in real life situations? That would remain to be seen.
Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
It looks like Delphi is looking to start pushing boundaries today by showing off the true potential of autonomous vehicle technology. The driverless car is set to begin a cross-country trip later today, having the starting point set in California and the destination set as New York. Though driverless cars may be truly advanced, a driver will still be present inside the car to take control in case of emergency.
“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” said Jeff Owens, chief technology officer of Delphi. “now it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions. This drive will help us collect invaluable data in our quest to deliver the best automotive grade technologies on the market.”
The journey is said to be 3.500 miles and is taking place in order for engineers to collect valuable live data which can further enhance the self-driving car technology. The vehicle is said to be able to accurately navigate a 4-way stop, pass cyclists safely and enter/exit highways on its own.
Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
With what Tesla have accomplished, and the recent announcement of an update that will help keep batteries charged, they haven’t stopped there. In that same announcement, they said the Model S will be updated to enable limited automated driving, as reported by The Verge.
Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, said the update will allow the car to drive itself for a while. The one caveat at this time is the system will only work on highways and private properties.
“We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything.”
Continuing on the update, he said:
“It is technically capable of going from parking lot to parking lot, But we won’t be enabling that for users with this hardware suite, because we don’t think it’s likely to be safe in suburban neighborhoods.”
The system might not be able to fully adapt to suburban streets, known to have less speed signs, and the danger it would present to kids playing in the street. The more common uses would be summoning the Model S to your location or telling it to park itself, these features won’t be seen in the U.S. as they are not yet legal. In addition, Tesla reiterated the importance of paying attention even when the car is doing these things. Speaking specifically on this Musk said:
“There’s certainly an expectation that when autopilot on the Model S is enabled, that you’re paying attention. But it should also take care of you if you have moments of distraction.”
Tesla isn’t alone in producing a self-driving car, they have competition coming from Google, and Apple now joining the mix. And it won’t be long till regular car makers are part of the movement.
Nvidia has introduced its Drive PX, a self-driving computer for the automotive industry, which is now available as a developer kit. The device is said to go on sale this May for a price tag of $10.000, which is not a huge price for the car industry. Nvidia’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang, believes that this is where the industry is heading.
Nvidia has compared the Drive PX with one of its former DARPA projects called Dave, which as a small self-driving car based on deep learning neural network that processed a lot of images in order to learn how to drive and avoid obstacles.
DARPA’s Dave had 3.1 million connections, 12 frames per second and was capable of 38 million connections a second. Nvidia now has the AlexNet deep learning network that can do 630 million connections at 184 frames per second and, with 116 billion connects a second.
The Drive PX comes equipped with 12 camera inputs and has 2.3 Teraflops of computing power, as well as ADAS which runs multiple cameras and combines the data from them. Nvidia might be taking the automotive industry to the next level with this new project.
Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information
Terrafugia, a company based in Boston in the United States, says that it will offer the first “commercially available” flying car in 2016.
The ‘Transition’, as it’s called, will allow those who hold pilot licenses to fly their aircraft as well as drive it on the roads too. It is officially street legal – the first flying craft to receive such certification. The craft runs on standard unleaded fuel and is supposed to be incredibly easy to fly.
However, you might be questioning this and wondering, is this really the flying car we’ve always envisioned? Well, you do need a pilot’s license for it and it costs $279,000, making it inaccessible to many. Terrafugia thinks it has the answer to this though.
They say that the ‘Transition’ is just the beginning and that in 10 years, they will be able to offer the TF-X – a craft that is completely driverless, allowing literally anyone to step onboard and fly to wherever they want to go at speeds of up to 200mph. They say that the cost issue will be solved too – the vehicles will offered perhaps in a similar way to a taxi or Uber for example, where you can pay a fare just for the journey you wish to take.
While all of this is incredibly exciting, we’ll have to see it to believe it first.
Speaking via e-mail to Business Insider, an unidentified but apparently verified Apple employee said that the company is working on a project that will “give Tesla a run for its money”. The e-mail was in response to a story from last week concerning the sighting of a mysterious car registered to Apple. The car featured a host of measuring and monitoring equipment, with some suggesting it could be driverless.
“Apple’s latest project is too exciting to pass up,” the person said. “I think it will change the landscape and give Tesla a run for its money.”
You heard that correctly, apparently Apple is planning to take on Tesla. But what they’re planning to do it with is unsure. That could mean they’re planning to take on something as simple as Tesla’s in-car ‘infotainment’ systems with CarPlay, but it could also mean they’re planning to take them on altogether, by building their own electric vehicle.
Regardless, it’s certainly interesting. We’ll have to wait to see what Apple is really doing, if anything.
Google X, Google’s semi-secret division for developing crazy new technologies, has come out with a brilliant new technological advancement: their first prototype self-driving car. We’re not even talking a normal car that can drive itself under certain scenarios but a car that has been purpose built for self-driving with no ability for the passengers to drive it in any way other than setting the destination. From some perspectives it may seem scary, from others exciting and liberating, but whichever you see it the innovation is impressive.
Google’s prototype self-driving car has nothing on the inside except seats and some seat belts: there’s no steering wheel, pedals, mirrors, backseats or glove compartments. The car is driven by a complex interaction of sensors and 360 degree viewing lasers. The current prototype model is limited to 25 miles an hour with significant foam padding on the sides and front as well as plastic instead of glass, this is to improve the safety of the car in the event of a collision. Another safety feature includes steering and braking redundancy systems, think of it as RAID 1 for cars!
Google plans to build 100-200 prototypes themselves to help develop and advance the technology, maybe a big car manufacturer will jump on-board – who knows! The technology has massive potential with the ability to grant personal mobility to the blind, the disabled and those who are too old or young to drive. Check out the video below for yourself and see what you think!