The day we can jump into our car and drive to work while doing a crossword, engaging in a game of Draw Something or taking a nap may be a step closer, as Google presses ahead with the development of its self-driving automobile.
The Mountain View company announced this week that it is currently looking for partners to help bring its project to fruition, hopefully within the next 10 years. And Google’s not the only one believing the roads will one day be filled with self-driving vehicles — the great-grandson of car pioneer Henry Ford also said recently that he believed we could be flicking the autopilot switch in our vehicles by 2025.
Google’s Anthony Levananowski, who’s directly involved in the company’s ambitious project, said that in the coming years his team plans to do “millions of miles” of road tests.
Speaking at the Society of Automotive Engineers conference in Detroit this week, Levananowski said, “We’re talking to every car company to see what their level of excitement is.”
It’s not yet known if other car makers will want to join forces with Google or continue developing driverless cars by themselves. BMW recently unveiled some of its own autonomous driving technology — ConnectedDrive Connect (CDC) — which uses a large number of sensors to help it negotiate traffic.
Google’s self-driving vehicle has been in and out of the headlines since the company first started testing driverless automobiles two years ago. In August last year it proved its technology wasn’t quite ready when one of its test cars was seen rear-ending another vehicle, although the company claimed its car was actually being controlled by a human at the time.
Whatever the truth, it seems the technology has come along leaps and bounds with news just last month of a blind resident in California test driving (or rather, just sitting in the driving seat and possibly praying) one of Google’s driverless vehicles to a fast food restaurant. The journey, we’re happy to report, was a crash-free success.