Google’s driver­less cars set to hit public roads shortly

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

AS Del­phi and Ot­tomatika cre­ated a pow­er­house in au­to­mated driv­ing, Google is start­ing to test its lit­tle car with­out a steer­ing wheel in Ne­vada.

Del­phi’s Au­to­mated Dream Team fea­tur­ing John Ab­smeier, direc­tor, Del­phi Labs and Global Au­to­mated Ve­hi­cle Busi­ness Devel­op­ment at Del­phi and Raj Ra­jku­mar, CEO, Ot­tomatika said on a YouTube broad­cast the part­ner­ship be­tween their com­pa­nies brought to­gether in­tel­lec­tual teams who have a long his­tory in safety and au­to­ma­tion.

Ra­jku­mar said “con­nected au­to­ma­tion” was the next step to de­velop tech­nol­ogy to make au­to­ma­tion a re­al­ity.

Google In­cor­po­rated will begin testing its self-driv­ing cars on public roads this sum­mer on the streets of Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, the search gi­ant’s home­town.

The self-driv­ing car will de­pend on Google’s road maps, built specif­i­cally for the pro­gram, and tested on the com­pany’s cur­rent fleet of ve­hi­cles. It’s elec­tric, and has to be recharged af­ter 80 miles.

The Google self-driv­ing car can­not go faster than 40 km/h and dur­ing the next phase of testing the driv­ers will have ac­cess to a re­mov­able steer­ing wheel, ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal and brake pedal, which will let them take over if needed.

When Google an­nounced a year ago that it planned to build a fleet of self-driv­ing cars, project direc­tor Chris Urm­son said the pro­to­types “won’t have a steer­ing wheel, ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal or brake pedal … be­cause they don’t need them”.

It turns out, how­ever, that the pro­to­types will need those crit­i­cal con­trol de­vices af­ter all be­cause Cal­i­for­nia re­quires that self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles have man­ual con­trols dur­ing testing.

Google has long been testing its self-driv­ing car tech­nol­ogy with a fleet of Lexus sport-util­ity ve­hi­cles that have driven about 1,6 mil­lion km on public roads, and that con­tinue to put in 16 000 km a week.

Google re­cently ac­knowl­edged that its self-driv­ing car fleet had been in­volved in 11 mi­nor traf­fic in­ci­dents.

“Not once was the self-driv­ing car the cause of the ac­ci­dent. No one was in­jured in the ac­ci­dents. The cars had been hit from be­hind seven times, mainly at traf­fic lights, with a ma­jor­ity of the ac­ci­dents be­ing on city streets rather than on free­ways.”

Tra­di­tional au­tomak­ers are also push­ing the en­ve­lope of driver­less tech with onthe-road testing of their own ve­hi­cles.

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