If you’re a Sci-fi fan, the concept of the driverless car is nothing new. But, seeing it actually happen in real-time is a completely different thing.
It turns out that Google’s driverless vehicles have now logged close to 700,000 miles in autonomous driving. That’s nothing to sneeze at, and has probably saved the company at least a few thousand dollars in coffee and caffeine pills alone. But there are many other potential benefits to be had.
Mercury News reporter Gary Richards had this to say about his recent test drive:
“Google’s grand experiment picked me up at home in West San Jose and ferried me to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Later other cars took me and numerous other media types on a 25-minute tour of city streets.
There were two Google workers along for each trip, but for the most part, there were no hands on the steering wheel.
Got that? No hands. The car made a few abrupt moves into left-turn lanes. And once it shuddered at another turn when a nearby bus seemed to confuse the onboard computers.”
Safety is a primary concern and selling point of the vehicles. “We actually haven’t had any at-fault accidents while the car is in self-driving mode,” said Google spokeswoman Katelin Jabbari. “The only at-fault accident was caused while a driver was in control.”
To tackle that, Google has packed these vehicles with $150K in specialized equipment, which includes a radar system with a price tag of $70K alone. All these gadgets enable the car to generate a 3-D map of its surroundings and can detect other vehicles, pedestrians and other things that lay in its path.
Per that, we still don’t know how much these cars are going to cost, but one can imagine. Stay tuned for more on that aspect.
For now, check out Gary Richards’ full review.