back to article Google takes latest self-driving buggies to the streets

Google has begun public road tests for a line of self-driving cars designed to be free of such fripperies as a steering wheel or pedals. The Chocolate Factory kicked off the tests in its hometown of Mountain View, where it has been running them on private tracks up until now. The cars will be driving on the local roads away …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    25 MPH?

    Urban expressways like shown are 35 to 50 MPH. I'm guessing that photo is a 35 MPH zone of San Antonio Rd passing over Central Expressway and Caltrain. Only a handful of downtown and residential streets are 25 MPH or less. Urban expressways forbid parking during business hours so that bicycle commuters traveling at 15 to 22 MPH rarely need to mix with traffic. I don't think a 25 MPH car is going to make many friends.

    1. ratfox
      Angel

      Re: 25 MPH?

      From what I understand, 25 MPH is a speed that few Silicon Valley residents hope to reach during their commute!

      1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

        Re: 25 MPH?

        It's 50% under the posted speed during 9-to-5 commutes and 25% over otherwise. Along the border of those two states is lots of honking, swerving, finger waving, and bumping.

  2. Chris Miller

    The 'Johnny Cabs' in Total Recall* did have a steering wheel (well, OK, a joystick).

    * The Arnie version - I can't speak to the remake as I refuse to watch such things.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perfect prison vehicles..

    So I am not to have any control over this vehicle? Does it have an emergency stop button? How has it been crash proofed (that it does 25mph max does not limit other road users from going faster)?

    BTW, don't try to fob me off with electronic locks, I want a mechanical, "it will always work, even when the code is buggy" solution. Unless, of course, it is the actual idea to imprison people because you want, for instance, harass them with advertising on the journey.

    10 horses couldn't drag me into one of those things. I have been near enough accidents to know just how bad things can get in a collision - no thanks. I take decent engineering developed and made safe over decades over these toys any day.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

      Because you think you can still buy a car with fully mechanical locks?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

        Because you think you can still buy a car with fully mechanical locks?

        Well, the BMW as found in the linked article did indeed not have any remaining mechanics inside, but in Toyota and anything from the VAG group (Audi, VW, Porsche et al) you will find that the handle on the inside of the door will open the door, even when locked (and I imaging in a good deal of other cars this is still the case too). In a Toyota it opens immediately, in VWs you must pull the handle twice (the first pull disables the lock).

        This is a basic safety measure: what if you get involved in an accident and power cuts out? I wouldn't want to be in a vehicle without a mechanical means to unlock the door, even if that takes a few actions of means breaking a seal to stop abuse.

        1. LucreLout

          Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

          I wouldn't want to be in a vehicle without a mechanical means to unlock the door, even if that takes a few actions of means breaking a seal to stop abuse.

          Just break the window if things have gone that badly.

          I keep an emergency hammer [1] in my cars for such occasions, because if you roll onto the roof, many car doors simply won't open very far. I've never needed it, but it's always best to be prepared for these things.

          [1]- A proper one, with seat belt cutter, rather than just a hammer that I try to tell plod is "for emergencies".

          1. Gene Cash Silver badge

            Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

            > if you roll onto the roof

            Adam Savage says testing the escape from the upside-down underwater car was pretty much the most frightening experience he's had at MythBusters https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-eK_cpTsOw

      2. DropBear

        Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

        A new one - no idea. Mine has completely mechanical locks though (even the central locking bit is pneumatic) and you can get as many of them as you want around here. Of course, the flip side is you'll definitely regret having any water leaks inside your door and/or not lubricating things adequately once winter arrives...

    2. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

      Re: Perfect prison vehicles..

      "don't try to fob me off with electronic locks"

      Hello, it looks like you're trying to crash, do you need help with that?

      YES CANCEL

  4. Graham Marsden
    Alert

    "a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal...

    "...that allow them to take over driving if needed"

    Why does this sound like, if you feel the vehicle is about to crash, all you need to do is re-install the steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedals and you can then take over?

    You'd need *very* fast reactions...

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    Its a "Neighborhood Electric Vehicle"

    There are various sub-classifications of motor vehicles in California. One's the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle which looks like a golf cart to you and me but apparently isn't. Its the sort of vehicle you use to drive from your place in the senior living community to the club house or neighborhood store. These vehicles have a top speed of 25mph and can be driven on roads with speed limits of 35mph or less.

    You're supposed to be licensed driver to operate one of these but I suppose having a computer with someone hovering waiting to take over is more or less the same.

    [Personally I'd go for the Mini Moke driven by the 1960s issue dolly bird (seen one in CA on the 101 in Ventura County (sans bird) -- don't know how they ever got it licensed in CA!). "Be Seeing You!"]

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