A driverless Google car may soon be a reality after the search giant announced plans this week to launch a vehicle that will operate without a steering wheel, gas pedal, or brakes.
What the Google car will have, though, are plenty of sensors, cameras, and heavy-duty computing power to guide its two-seat electric car anywhere the passengers want to go at 25 mph, The Associated Press reported
. Google reportedly plans to build about 100 of the prototypes by next year.
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"Ever since we started the Google self-driving car project, we've been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving," Chris Urmson, director of the company's self-driving car project, said in a statement released Tuesday.
"Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can't keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History. We're now exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like by building some prototypes; they'll be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention," Urmson continued.
Urmson said the goal for Google is to get the cars road-adapted. He said he believes the vehicle will have the ability to give millions of people who can't drive for one reason or another the freedom to get where they want to go.
"Our software and sensors do all the work," Urmson said in the statement. "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 Associated Press reported that Google plans run the vehicles on closed courses over the summer and then public roadways later this year before building about 100 prototypes for the general public.
Before the public can use truly driverless cars, however, California regulators need to finalize new rules allowing their operation. That process is due to be completed in the summer of 2015.
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