Google’s new autonomous car has been headline news this week. Like the old Google cars, the new prototype drives itself. But, with no steering wheel or pedals, this one can’t be driven by a human at all.
The car’s complete autonomy is impressive, but Jalopnik’s Damon Lavrinc makes a good point. The exchange of controls between car and driver is one of the biggest limitations of autonomous car technology. Most agree that street-safe autonomous cars will need some protocol for events when human drivers need to step in. As Lavrinc explains, that’s a pretty big hurdle that Google has sidestepped with this release.
It’s also worth noting that these prototypes represent another foray into the hardware business for Google. Will Google become an automaker?
Finally, this car is another step towards autonomy that will allow drivers, as well as passengers, to enjoy IVI. Personal devices and built-in entertainment systems will inevitably accompany driverless cars; IVI will become even more important as we spend less in-car time actually driving.