DRIVERLESS CARS took a step closer to reality as Google unveiled the “production version” of its autonomous machine.
The pod-like design, which has been compared to a vehicle from Noddy’s Toyland, has been seen before on prototypes, but those were not allowed to be used on public highways. The new car, pictured above, is fully road-legal and will start to undergo testing in California in the new year.
Unlike earlier versions, the latest car features pedals for the brake and accelerator, a steering wheel and proper headlights. These additions are necessary to make it comply with Californian law and allow the “driver” to take over if need be.
The new vehicle features the same technology — including laser sensors and automated steering, acceleration and braking systems — as the prototype, which will enable it to go from one location to another without any human intervention.
In Britain several driverless car schemes are set to start on January 1, when a £19.2m government-funded, three-year project begins. The scheme is aimed at testing driverless vehicle technology as well as examining the implications for insurance companies.