Self-driving cars are on the horizon. The most recognized names in technology have agreed there will be driverless cars on the market within five years. The question is, who will get there first?
Google, Tesla, Audi, and other big name automotive companies have invested a lot of time and capital into developing the first successful autonomous car, but Google is ahead of the pack.
Here are five fast facts you should know about driverless cars.
1. Google’s Car Can Recognize Halloween Costumes
The most recent news about Google’s self-driving car came around Halloween, when the prototype was able to detect children in Halloween costumes. The biggest concern about driverless cars has been their ability to recognize pedestrians, and a substantial testing has resulted.
This is particularly true in MCity, a testing ground for driverless cars in Detroit. MCity has been using animated mannequins to assess the reflexes of the cars, and had positive results so far.
Google decided take things one step further and made sure their cars could recognize pedestrians, no matter how big or funny-shaped they were. They ran testing on several animated mannequins wearing a variety of costumes that distorted the shape of the average child, and the tests were successful.
2. The Competition Is Looming
The tests Google have been running aren’t the only advancements being made involving driverless cars. There are plenty of companies striving to release the first, full-tested and approved automated vehicle.
As mentioned previously, Detroit’s MCity is helping other car companies reach their goals. Tesla, GM, Ford, and Audi are all making significant progress. Ford, GM, and Audi are already major contenders because they have the capital, reputation, and experience in car manufacturing.
Tesla is a little shakier, due to the recent financial trouble they’ve experienced. Still, all four big names are well on their way to building a successful self-driving car.
3. GM Wants to Build a Partnership
Perhaps GM isn’t quite as confident in their car-building as we had thought, however. According to an article from Bloomberg, GM is looking to forge a partnership with Google in order to build a better and cheaper autonomous vehicle that would be more accessible for the masses.
Both companies have a lot to offer to the process: Google has an incredible tech background, and GM has experience in building affordable, quality vehicles. If the rumors about this partnership are true, the two could come together to create something amazing.
4. They’re in the Testing Stages and Highly Anticipated
Google’s autonomous cars are still being tested and haven’t hit the roads just yet. Though the technology behind driverless cars has been around for some time, testing has only been allowed since 2012, when Nevada and Washington D.C. passed a bill allowing for such. Google has been working on the prototypes ever since.
The current model has gone through several stages thus far. In 2014, they made the change to a two-man car that had no steering wheel or pedals, and they’ve created a fully functional prototype that’s undergone extensive testing with positive reviews. If this becomes available, it will mean that people will be able to send the vehicle in for an oil change or other service without ever having to wait.
5. Google’s Driverless Car Is Anticipated on the Market in 2018
Tech experts have been expecting driverless cars for a long time, and if Google’s calculations are true, they’ll be here on a mass scale in 2018. As a result, experts are predicting that as many as 3,000 roadway deaths will be prevented each day because cars will no longer be subject to human error.