Google PLans Driverless Car
In 2009 Google announced plans to develop a driverless car, a vehicle that can drive all by itself. Five years later the Internet company has tested the car for hundreds of thousands of miles. In the near future Google plans to build 100 such fully automated cars for testing purposes. The driverless car will use Google’s own software to drive around. Currently only a few states, including Nevada and Florida, allow the driving of such cars in public.
Google's new car does not have a steering wheel or brakes but just two stop and go buttons. It can drive at a maximum speed of 25 miles an hour. The prototype has a series of expensive high-tech equipment, including radar systems, GPS location finders, precise maps and several sensors.
Up to now, the vehicle has been tested mainly on Californian roads. It has crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and driven up San Francisco’s famous Lombard Street with 180° curves. The system does not allow humans to take control but they can stop the car whenever they want to.
Google claims that a driverless car would be an important step for road safety. They could take over driving on roads, just like autopilots take control of airplanes, while the pilot often has nothing to do but just sit and wait for landing. There would be fewer car accidents and road fatalities.
Several European countries have also started to test cars without drivers. Prototypes of such cars are on roads in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
According to Google, mass production of the car is still a far way ahead. With almost $100 000 dollars’ worth of high-tech equipment the company estimates that customers won’t be able to buy one in this decade.
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- announce = to say officially
- automated = using computers instead of people
- autopilot = machine that takes over flying or driving from a person
- brakes = pedals used to make a car stop
- currently = at the moment
- develop = create from the beginning
- equipment = machines and other tools
- fatality = death in an accident
- including = also
- location finder = machine that finds out exactly where something is
- mainly = mostly
- near future = soon
- precise = exact
- prototype = first form that a new design of a car has, or a model of it used for testing
- public = where anyone can see it
- purpose = intend; the reasons for doing something
- radar = machine that uses radio waves to find the position of things and how fast they move
- safety = not being in danger
- sensor = metal plate that you can use to detect movement, light heat etc..
- several = some, a few
- speed = how fast something is
- steering wheel = wheel that you turn in the direction you want to drive
- step = move, action
- vehicle = car, truck, bus etc..