There are a few automakers testing out automated cars, with the most recent and popular one being Audi and its RS7 that lapped a racetrack at high speed without a driver. On top of the various automakers in the race to make driverless cars a reality is Internet giant Google. In recent months, we’ve seen prototypes of Google’s self-driving car out and about, but those cars were nothing more than mockups used to test various systems. Well, now Google is set to actually take the race seriously, as over the holidays it tested a real-life, functioning version of its driverless car.
There are very few details on this new prototype, but Google did announce that it has fully functioning headlights — something none of the prototypes had — and this prototype features all of the steering and braking systems that earlier prototypes were testing individually.
Google also did not reveal any timeframe for the completion of its testing, nor did it announce its intentions with this vehicle. It’s very doubtful that Google has any interest in getting into the auto manufacturing world, so chances are that it is planning to offer self-driving technology to other manufacturers, much like its Android system and Apple’s iOS do in terms of infotainment systems.
While we are still in the early phases of automated vehicles, it looks like the struggles of the daily commute may be solved in the coming years thanks to this technology. You can simply sit back, relax and read the paper as your car whisks you off to work. Once the technology is perfected, it could virtually eliminate all accidents due to driver error and solve the traffic issues that affect commute times in larger cities.