Google: Our Self-Driving Cars Won’t Have Windshield Wipers

Google: Our Self-Driving Cars Won’t Have Windshield Wipers
google_car by sam_churchill on 2012-05-21 08:33:10

Google’s automated vehicles apparently won’t have windshield wipers. The news came out when the company put its car on display at a children’s museum called Thinkery, and a visitor asked if the car had windshield wipers. One of Google’s employees clarified that there aren’t wipers on the windshield, but rather on the sensors, which they referred to as the car’s “eyes.”

Google takes hands-off approach on self-driving car

Google’s automated car requires minimal input from the driver, which means all they need to do is tell the car where to go. Since everything is automatic, there really is no need for some of the features needed for human driving. Unfortunately, the lack of windshield wipers may make the person riding in the vehicle feel helpless.

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This isn’t the only missing feature that may make some riders uncomfortable. The tech giant previously revealed that its self-driving vehicles will lack pedals and a steering wheel as well. The project’s director, Chris Urmson, said the vehicle won’t have any use for a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator pedal simply because the sensors do most of the work. He added, “It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, ‘What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'”

Google lobbies for flexible regulations

It should be noted that the first model of the car will most likely come with a steering wheel and gas pedal to satisfy California law. Google is in the process of lobbying for more flexible regulations. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, believes the self-driving car eliminates human error and makes the roads safer. In fact, human error accounts for an estimated 1.2 million road deaths around the world every year. Automated cars would also improve traffic congestion and provide transportation for seniors and the disabled.

Google started testing self-driving cars in 2009, but it only started testing prototypes without steering wheels this summer. Self-driving cars could be available for purchase in five years.

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