Google in talks with car makers to bring self-driving cars to market.
According to a Google project manager, an announcement on when self-driving cars will be available to the public could be made as early as next year. This comes after it was revealed that Google is “in talks with car manufacturers to see what their level of excitement is and how do we work with them”.
Safety - or perceived risks - are going to be the biggest problem with bringing the technology to market. Google has identified this and says they want to log at least 1 million miles with their test cars before the technology is offered to the public.
Meanwhile MIT’s media lab has been solving another problem the cars would cause - how pedestrians would know an autonomous car had seen them at a crossing. When making eye contact with the driver is no longer an option, MIT came up with the solution of making small lights that swivel in the direction of the pedestrian.
The lights swivel to look at you when the sensors detect you, and blue LEDs flash to indicate the car has seen you. Directional speakers swivel toward you, too, and the car tells you it’s safe to cross. The system can also flash bright white LEDs to get your attention.
Sonar sensors can detect if a pedestrian is too close to the side of the car. If they do, LEDs in the wheels to turn from green to orange and red—getting redder as you get closer—to warn you, and let you know the car knows you are there.