Google has been in the development process of its self-driving car technology for years now, and it’s finally at a point where Google thinks they may be able to slap down a potential time frame. 2020. At least, according to reports, that’s the timeline that Google is shooting for with getting its self-driving vehicles onto the road for normal use. That really isn’t that far away if you think about it. The statements come from Google’s Chris Urmson who is heading up the project, who also mentioned at the TED conference today that his son will be eligible to get his driver’s license about six months prior to their hopeful time frame, which is a driving factor in trying to get the project ready for mainstream within five year’s time.
Google’s self-driving car technology has raised some questions about whether or not they’ll be safe enough to engage in transportation on the road with other driver’s, but according to Urmson, self-driving cars like the one’s Google have been developing will be safer than driver assisted vehicles, suggesting they have quite a bit of confidence in the progress they have been making towards realizing this goal. With self-driving cars handling all the operation of the vehicle, it has a better chance to eliminate mistakes that could be made by driver assisted vehicles, as Urmson believes that human drivers may take more risks when driver assisted vehicle technology improves.
There is still much to be done to get these fully automated vehicles in working order, but when and if Google’s cars do hit the road, they will most likely be without steering wheels just like the prototypes that Google is working with now. Google is running all sorts of tests on these vehicles including simulated driving tests which have hit a recorded amount of 3 million miles on a daily basis. Simulated driving is not quite the same as putting this car on the actual road, of course, but the cars have been tested in real-world driving situations to some degree too. They have also already made significant progress in simulations with hazards and occurrences that human drivers may encounter regularly, like bikers and cyclists, traffic lights, motorized wheelchairs and more.