Google: automated cars will change the roads of the future

Google might not be quite such a big name in automated vehicles as it once was, with many other technology heads and car makers announcing over the past year that they too were working driverless vehicles in their spare time, but that doesn’t mean that Google’s impact on the industry will be any less weighty when the time comes. Continuing to speak about the future of the technology lately was Google’s Ray Kurzweil, how at the Society of Automotive Engineer’s annual conference, outed some of the tech-giants plans for solar powered vehicles.

“The technology works. It’s not far away,” he said, describing how almost a million miles had been driven by Google’s automated vehicles over the past few years and that not a single incident had been reported. Of course it’s worth pointing out that Google’s vehicles have never left a specific section of roadways around California, which is notoriously easy for driving on, but it’s a big start. When those cars can compete with the likes of Delphi, which used its driverless tech to cross the US from coast to coast, then we’ll be impressed.

Still, that doesn’t mean Google isn’t pushing the envelope too, though perhaps in other ways. One way in which Google thinks its cars will change the way people drive, is that more people will car-share, using the same vehicle as a few work colleagues to get to the office.


Will Google’s future cars look like this, or like those Pod designs?

“The Uber model with self-driving cars will become very popular. We should share our cars. I think that model will grow when we have autonomous cars,” he said. This will lead to disruption he continued, but that ultimately other companies would simply need to rework how they approach their business.

Even the fuel industry may be impacted by automated cars, Kurzweil claims. In his chat, he highlighted how solar energy was becoming more viable every year and that its usage across the globe nearly doubles in the same time period (via NDTV). In some countries he said, fossil fuels and solar energy were almost comparable in terms of output, so before long he doesn’t see it being the minor player it is today.

In-fact, if it and battery technology improves over the next few years as it’s expected to, we could see fully solar powered, electric Google vehicles before long.

How about that? Would you be interested in driving a fuel-free vehicle? I know I would.

    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

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