Years ago, futurists predicted the year 2000 would be one of wonder and science. Cars with domed roofs zipping through the sky while we stand on automated sidewalks and take our meals entirely in pill form. Though that future may not have come true in its entirety, Google’s most recent development could be the next wave of the future. Having ripped a page out of Golden Age Sci-Fi and put it on the road, Google presents the self-driving car.
Showing off its most recent prototype last Saturday at the Community School of Music and Arts in Mountain View, California, Google proved that it owns the cutting edge. While prototypes of this vehicle were unveiled in May, Google has been road testing their latest creation since June. Keeping it sheltered from the public eye, Google kept their baby behind glass, only available for a chosen few to see.
Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car program, announced the car’s many features. Along with your typical air-conditioning and power windows, you can elect to remove your accelerator pedal, brake pedal, and steering wheel. While the car does come with a fail-safe stop button, the final model will look entirely different. Only being a prototype, this early peek at what Google plans to offer has titillated many. Unveiling their vehicle as part of the Paint the Town project, Google sought local artists to submit artwork to be showcased on the vehicles. Introducing a concept as foreign and futuristic as a self driving car will take all the positive P.R. Google can muster.
With a history of successful innovations under their belt, it should come as no surprise that Google is the one to introduce such a major leap in the technology. While it may be several years before the highways are bustling with self-piloting cars, it’s no doubt that the future is upon us.