Google’s self-driving car project, the first drive.

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The Google Car is fully electric, big enough for two passengers. It’ll only go 25 miles per hour. Your involvement with the car consists of four things: get in, put on your seatbelt, press the Start button, and wait. While you’re waiting, maybe check out the large screen in the center console, which shows the temperature and the time remaining in your journey but could easily display just about anything else. Like, say, a Chrome browser for catching up on your Gmail or watching YouTube while you ride.

Google’s had trouble finding willing partners for its ambitious automotive project — it’s always just hacked sensors and cameras onto existing vehicles, which creates a bunch of visibility and sensory limitations — which may be because what it was asking for was only just shy of insane. Nothing about this car is traditional: it has a front made of compressible foam, a flexible plastic windshield, and a dual-motor system that keeps the car running even if part of its engine fails. It’s easy to imagine executives at GM balking at quite literally reinventing the wheel to help Google X with its latest moonshot.

Google_Self-Driving_Prototype__1_

The Google Car is fully electric, big enough for two passengers. It’ll only go 25 miles per hour. Your involvement with the car consists of four things: get in, put on your seatbelt, press the Start button, and wait. While you’re waiting, maybe check out the large screen in the center console, which shows the temperature and the time remaining in your journey but could easily display just about anything else. Like, say, a Chrome browser for catching up on your Gmail or watching YouTube while you ride.

Self-driving cars are coming. That’s essentially a given: the technology already mostly works, and nearly all automakers believe autonomous vehicles are both a good and feasible idea. They disagree only on the timing, though “by 2020″ has become an increasingly popular refrain. The biggest remaining challenges appear to be regulatory rather than technological, as governments start to answer questions like who’s responsible when a self-driving car gets in an accident.

More info on: The Verge

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