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Written By: admin on March 15, 2013 No Comment

Every year auto enthusiasts eagerly await the latest automotive innovations as they are unleashed, but few prototype unveilings have caused the stir that a certain vehicle triggered when it was shown to the public this month in Austin, Texas.

It was at the eighth annual Texas Transportation Forum and the usual dialogue about state highways and long-haul trucks was put on the back burner as public officials and an eager public gathered round to see an automotive curiosity, one with the potential to change the face of not just the automotive industry, but also the nation’s entire transportation infrastructure.

Who was the developer behind this groundbreaking vehicle?  Was it automotive pioneer Ford?  Or the always innovative folks at Toyota?  Or maybe it was one of the foreign manufacturers.  Porsche?  Ferrari?

Nope.

It was Google.

That’s right; the Internet giant Google is the brains behind this state-of-the-art vehicle.  A quick glance at the model reveals little that would indicate this is anything but a normal luxury sedan; aside from the futuristic implement sitting on top of the vehicle, this could be your suburban neighbor’s car.

But it wasn’t the Jones’ car that had everyone stirring.  No, this automobile is quite different.

You see one constant in the history of automobiles -- from Henry Ford’s Model T to the Lamborghini Gallardo – is that a certain instrument must be in place for the automobile to operate.

The Google prototype doesn’t need this, however.  Unlike every other vehicle ever created for use on public roads, the Google vehicle has no need for one thing.  (And I’m not talking about tires.)

A driver.

That’s right!  Google, with the help of researchers at Stanford University, has now produced a fleet of ten vehicles that does all the driving itself.  It accelerates by itself.  It brakes and steers by itself and knows when to do so.  It changes lanes when appropriate.  It can see the road using laser technology and can go as fast as 85 miles per hour.

Google took the driverless car for a loop around the Austin area, including the traffic-packed Interstate 35.  This was quite a technological feat, considering that just a couple years ago the driverless cars could only travel a few city blocks at a time.

Sure it may yet be a few years before the driverless cars are whizzing around city streets, but the progress has been such that it no longer seems like a fantasy.  It’s going to happen, and it will change the transportation setup of our country.

Google claims that their driverless car will:

  • Reduce traffic accidents by 90%
  • Reduce wasted commute time and energy by 90%
  • Reduce the total number of cars we need by 90%

Think about that.

It’s a whole new ball game!

Jack Payton is an automotive enthusiast and a freelance writer for the online tire retailer tires-easy.com.  Though intrigued by the driverless car, he isn’t willing to give up his 4x4 excursions into the mountains.

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