Google started its self driving car programme in 2009. Since then they have been trying to perfect the design and technology of the self driving car until it does not have pedals or steering wheel and only have sensors and software. The company does not even have its own car but apparently they are still using Lexus RX450h SUV which then equipped with the autonomous software developed by the company.
It is unveiled recently on the reason why Google opt to pursue fully autonomous vehicle in the first place and oppose to semi-autonomous ones that sometimes require driver’s attention. It started in 2012 when Google felt that the self driving technology was ready to be tested and the company had asked a few of its staffs to test the self driving cars on the highways as part of their commute. The staffs were required to pay attention at all times and ready to take over the control at all times as the technology was still at early stage during that time.
However, what happened next was beyond expectation. The staffs trusted the technology soon enough that in the video, it was captured that the staffs were doing all sort of behaviour except paid attention to the road.
Recently, it was reported that Google has started to test the self driving car behaviour around children. Children were asked to come to Google’s Mountain View headquarters and did what they normally did around Google’s self driving cars to give the sensors and software extra practice. Therefore, in the future, hopefully Google’s self driving cars will be more cautious when there are little kiddies in all sorts of shapes and sizes nearby.