Google gives the green light to its self-driving vehicle prototype, as DriveFactor rakes in a $22 million pay day. Andrew Tolve reports.
In this week’s Brief: Google Car, Lexus, National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Delphi, New York Auto Show, Honda, Acura, DriveFactor, CCC, Progressive SnapShot, Octo Telematics, Nokia HERE, Uber, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, Baidu and NNG.
It’s speculation no more: The self-driving Google Car will hit streets this summer. Two of the pods are in route to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, as we speak, where Google says they’ll plot around town at a neighborhood-friendly 25 mph with a safety driver on board.
Google has been testing the software that powers the Google Car for years in a fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs that have logged nearly a million autonomous miles in the San Francisco Bay Area. The pods are a shift toward the ultra-small, intracity cars that Google envisions as the future of mobility. They’re also Google’s first stab at automotive manufacturing.
The Google Car is electric and has a range of about 80 miles. It has National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration’s NHTSA Level 3 rating (the same as the Independence Truck that Daimler is now testing in Nevada), which means that the onboard safety driver is mandatory, as are a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal, even though Google says all of those features will eventually go.
The goal for now is to log miles, learn from street experience and collect community feedback. Check out this video from Google for more.