Google To Build Its Own Self-Driving Cars
Google is building its first prototype self-driving car - with no steering wheel, acceleration pedal, or brake.
Until now, Google has focused on adapting existing car models with its self-driving technology, and has driven hundreds of thousands of miles on public roads using Lexus SUVs and Toyota Prius models fitted with special equipment.
But Google co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters that the firm is to make 100 prototype cars that drive themselves.
They will be operated using two simple buttons - go and stop - and navigate using GPS, sensors and camera data.
Google is unlikely to move into large-scale car manufacturing, and the firm says it plans to work with other companies to "bring this technology into the world safely" if the prototypes are successful.
Mr Brin said: "The main reason we wanted to develop this prototype vehicle is that we can do a better job than we can do with an existing vehicle.
"The experience feels different. You're just sitting there, no steering wheel, no pedals - for me it was very relaxing. In about 10 seconds after getting in, I forgot I was there. It reminded me of catching a chairlift by yourself, a bit of solitude I found really enjoyable."
In a blog post, Google said that by building its own car it could star with a "blank sheet of paper".
"We started with the most important thing: safety.
"(The prototypes) have sensors that remove blind spots, and they can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions.
"This is especially helpful on busy streets with lots of intersections."
The post added: "Ever since we started the Google self-driving car project, we've been working toward the goal of vehicles that can shoulder the entire burden of driving.
"Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking. Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can't keep their car keys.
"And drunk and distracted driving? History."