Californias driverless car law was signed by Governor Brown at Googles headquarters last week. During the ceremony, Sergey Brin talked about Google’s driverless car efforts.
– Brin expects driverless cars to be available to the public in not more than 6 years
– Driverless cars to become available for testing to a larger subset of Google employees within one year
– Safety continues to be the core issue. Google is looking at all issues including hardware failures, tires blowing out, electronics failures, etc.
– Three pronged approach to testing: a) actual driving on the road, b) lab testing, c) testing on closed circuits
– Google working on improving the sensor arrangements (It would be interesting to know whether they have found ways to reduce the dependence on the extremely expensive LIDAR)
– Google does not intend to manufacture vehicles
– Google intends to work with partners in commercializing the technology
– Driverless cars will greatly reduce the waste of land for parking spaces because driverless cars can drop someone of and then transport another passenger (reading between the lines, this was the only hint about the business model which Google may follow. Fewer parking lots also means fewer privately owned cars and an increasing share of trips using driverless taxi service (think: ‘Google mobile’ (Brin did not use this term!)).
– Nobody else is as far ahead as Google in this field.
Below is a video of the signing event: