Chicago Auto Show Blog

Look Ma...No Hands!

Posted by: Monica Gostkiewicz

Yesterday's futuristic dream is becoming today's reality. Google recently created the first driverless car to take the streets. The futuristic project was first publicized two years ago, but today the car has become a reality.

At the forefront of the technological advancement, Google has modified vehicles with computerized advancements allowing the "driverless car" to cruise the road without the assistance of a human driver. However, Google is not looking to create a "Google car," but is simply striving to work with automakers and suppliers to bring new advancements to the marketplace. Moreover, the Internet search giant is not looking to compete with manufacturers; rather, the company is looking to work alongside automakers such as Toyota, Lexus and Volvo to create driverless versions of current models. Volvo even has plans of selling its first driverless vehicle by 2020, according to Voice of America.

Each modified vehicle drives itself using video cameras, radar sensors, a laser rangefinder and detailed maps. Additionally, the innovation has a built-in failsafe mechanism that lets the driver take control of the car simply by grabbing the steering wheel or hitting the brakes - much like the override on cruise control. What may be even more remarkable is that the majority of driverless cars have cruised over 300,000 miles on the road!

But...are they legal? Three American states have street-legalized Google's driverless cars. Currently, California, Florida and Nevada are on-board with Google's latest buzz-worthy innovation.

Safety is a primary concern with consumers as a computerized vehicle is essentially taking over the wheel. However, Google is highly confident that the driverless vehicles can maneuver an automobile better than any human. In fact, Google suggests the driving rate of fatalities due to vehicle collisions will drastically decline when compared to human-operated counterparts, according to The New York Times. Obviously, the driverless vehicle is able to focus on the road without any common driving distractions such as eating, talking on the cell phone or reading billboards.



Photo credited to Henry Fountain, The New York Times.


Do you think the Google driverless car is an amazing invention or will it cause more harm than good? Leave your comments here, drop us a message on Facebook or tweet us at @ChiAutoShow with your opinion!

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