The Google Self-Driving Car, commonly known as SDC, is a latest project Google X is working on. Google Chauffeur is the software that powers google cars. Sebastian Thrun, former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View was formerly leading the project.
In May 2014, Google presented a new concept for their driverless car that had neither a steering wheel nor pedals, and unveiled a fully functioning prototype in December of that year that they planned to test on San Francisco Bay Area roads beginning in 2015. Google plans to make these cars available to the public in 2020.
Nevada has become the first state to approve driveless cars by accepting an application for the Google car to drive on it’s roads.
In May 2015, a few of the prototype vehicles they have created left the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with their safety drivers aboard.
What the team has to say
We’ve been running the vehicles through rigorous testing at our test facilities, and ensuring our software and sensors work as they’re supposed to on this new vehicle. The new prototypes will drive with the same software that our existing fleet of self-driving LEXUS RX450H SUVs uses. That fleet has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since we started the project, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. So the new prototypes already have lots of experience to draw on—in fact, it’s the equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience.
Each prototype’s speed is capped at a neighborhood-friendly 25mph, and during this next phase of our project we’ll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed. We’re looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles, and to uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle.
Future laws to be implemented
Owners of a Google car or similar driveless cars will need to obtain a special driver license and comply with specific regulations. For example, the cars must be equipped with smart boxes and owners will be responsible for how the car functions.
Price of Google Car
The figure is expected to drop to $5,000 in 2030 and $3,000 by 2035. As for Google, Urmson has said advertising the hefty price tag could be a challenge. The various lasers and radars attached to a Google car bring the cost to about $75,000, though that figure should come down with higher production volumes.