Look Ma, No Steering Wheel In Google’s New Self-Driving Cars

Google self-driving car prototypeIt now seems inevitable that self-driving cars will become mainstream in the next 25 years. And Google is largely responsible. While other companies have comparable technology, Google has the visibility and cultural sway to push the notion effectively.

Today, the company revealed that it had built and would be “releasing” its own car prototypes. They look like a Pixar Animation Studios spin on the Fiat 500:

We’re now exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like by building some prototypes; they’ll be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. They won’t have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal… because they don’t need them. Our software and sensors do all the work. The vehicles will be very basic—we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible—but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that’s an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.

We learned a week ago that to make autonomous vehicles truly work Google needs to build a 3D rendering of all the streets and routes it intends to drive. But let’s assume the company can eventually accomplish that on a national if not global scale.

Cut to twenty years from now:  you call a car up on some “mobile device” using your voice. It soon shows up at your home or work. You get in and speak your destination, confirming the location on an in-car touchscreen map. Then the car takes you there as you read a book, work on your tablet or talk to a friend (in person or on the phone).

Oh, and the car is a rolling WiFi hotspot, too.

Beyond existing public transportation options, autonomous cars will likely make personal cars in urban centers in the U.S., Europe and Asia less and less necessary. The family of the future may have one car or no cars. That’s long been true in places like New York, Tokyo and London; but it could one day be true in Los Angeles or Phoenix. Municipal car sharing could emerge and closely resemble city bike sharing today.

Longer term there are implications for highway safety, carbon emissions and the automobile industry as a whole.

Millennials are not as interested in car ownership as previous generations. And if self-driving cars become a reality, the children of millennials will even less interested than their parents in owning a car.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Business Issues | Google: Maps | Google: Mobile | Google: Self-Driving Cars | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Wow.I can’t wait to see more of these self-driving car not only in Google’s headquarter but all over the place.

  • Pablo

    Google development another mini-car!)) http://bit.ly/1nVzPVI

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!