Google Test Drives Reporters To Popularize Self Driving Cars

Google Test Drives Reporters To Popularize Self Driving Cars
google_car by sam_churchill on 2012-05-21 08:33:10

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s self-driving car might not be available anytime soon, but the Internet giant is already taking steps to make the technology more well known. On Tuesday, the company gave a ride to more than two dozen reporters around Mountain View in its futuristic cars.

Google making efforts to popularize the technology

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) invited more than two dozen reporters, who were later given a 30 minute ride during which the company demonstrated the ability to automatically and safely navigate through the streets packed with traffic.

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The test ride along with the press briefings by Google executives working on the technology is the strongest effort to date from the company to popularize the self-driving cars, which were developed five years ago in its secretive Google X division.

Ron Medford, director of safety for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s self-driving car project, who earlier worked for the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, said that the public needs to view the driver-less cars as “not something that you need to fear but something you need to embrace.” Medford added that after experiencing the technology, people typically do give positive feedback on the cars.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been silent on whether it would manufacture its own cars or license the technology to other automakers. Also, the company has not given any specific date for the availability of the cars, however, co-founder Sergey Brin did mention previously that the technology could be available by 2017.

Reporters viewing the ride as ordinary

Describing the ride, Marco della Cava of USA Today, who was one of the journalists invited to the event, writes, “Generally speaking, the car drove conservatively, a bit like grandparents heading to church,” and added, “What made this drive eventful was how utterly uneventful it was,” as the route was already predetermined leaving “little chance for drama.”

Other reports also, shared the similar feeling that for most of the route the ride was completely ordinary. However, they noted that the car was changing lanes sharply, and apart from that the car followed every rule be it the speed limit, alerting while approaching a crosswalk, keeping track on other nearby cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin view the self-driving cars as a revolutionary technology that could help in lowering fatalities on the road. However, it remains to be seen whether or not the technology is ready for the masses.

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