July 13, 2015 2 min read

Smart cars have always been a dream of tech fans around the world, dating back to the 80’s. When car companies brought forth their own driveable smart cars they were smaller in size and completely operated through electricity. Google has now taken it a step further with the use of their driverless smart cars. They are a new invention and were revealed last May. They are now set to take the streets for real-world testing.

Are They Really Driverless?

The premise of Google’s smart cars is to make them entirely driverless though when they first hit the streets, there will be safety drivers in each of them to make sure that the car operates like it should. The safety driver won’t be operating the vehicle but they will be able to access the steering wheel in the event of an emergency.

The Features of Smart Cars

The whole premise of a smart car is to give it something that no other vehicle has and to make sure that it is more technologically advanced than other models on the market. There is still a lot of room for growth with smart cars and there are many features that drivers would like to see.

  • Eliminating the Steering and Pedals: One of the concepts that Google brought to the table in May of 2014 was to eliminate the need for steering wheels and pedals as the car would fully operate on its own. They began testing the cars without these features at the beginning of 2015.
  • Range Finders: The main purpose of the rage finder is to give the car an idea of where it is and where it needs to go. With the Google smart cars they are mounted to the roof of the vehicle. The laser in the Velodyne 64-beam laser is designed to create a detailed 3D map of the vehicle’s environment. They can then produce different models to help navigate themselves.
  • Safety Modes: Since a self-driving car is a new concept, the Google smart cars are essentially equipped with an “extra cautious” mode. This could either be seen as a beneficial safety feature or a limitation to the vehicle as it will make the car drive slower in areas that have yet to be mapped by the vehicle. By driving slower, the car is able to easily identify traffic lights, light debris, and other objects in the area.

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