It looks a bit like the "cozy coupe" that so many kids used to cruise their driveways during the 90s, but Google says that it could be the future. The latest version of the Self-Driving Car is nothing like the Lexus edition that we reported on previously. Gone are the steering wheel, brakes and much of the staples that many associate with a motorized vehicle. This one is all electric, having the same approximately one hundred-mile range as the Fiat 500e.
As you saw in the YouTube video, these vehicles are very unique. Google has said that an unnamed manufacturer will build 100 prototypes they that hope to integrate onto U.S. roadways. Rumors are that Roush Industries out of Detroit is just the company for this job. Nothing, however, has been officially confirmed, except Google reportedly saying that they would be built in the motor city area.
One of the eyebrow-raising concepts that Google has hinted at is how they would like this self-driving car to change how vehicles are used. In one of their official videos via the official SDC Google+ page, Chris Urmson, Director, of the Google Self-Driving Cars project said, “imagine never losing someone to a traffic accident again. Imagine a world where you get in your car, it takes you where you want to go, and then you get out. You don’t have to search for parking. You just leave it and it goes off and helps someone else get where they’re going.” Does Urmson mean that these vehicles will be specialized cars that act as communal transportation, or that the hope is that the individualization of all automobiles will be replaced with these self-driving transports? One has to lean towards the latter based on him saying, “never losing someone to a traffic accident.” If there wasn’t a full buy-in and change over to self-driving cars, how could such a hope be possible?
Let’s say that the roadways are filled with self-driving vehicles that transport people without individual ownership. Assuming that OEMs are making these self-driving machines, to whom are dealers selling cars to in that scenario? Who's at fault for their accidents? What do you see for the future of self-driving cars?