Mountain View, May 2014: the Internet giant Google introduces a completely new idea with its prototype of a self-navigating car. So far, only modifications of existing vehicles were tested, in which the driver could still intervene. For Google, however, it is now a matter of pure transport: No steering wheel or brake, even no mirrors are available, only a start-stop button. So, the driver should not be able to intervene and merely have the option.
This car is designed purely for city traffic, can distinguish between pedestrians and cyclists and cannot drive faster than 40 km/h. Electronic sensors detect the complete surroundings, which also cuts the problem of the blind spot. This transformative technology actually has the potential to fundamentally redefine the transport of people and the potential utilities of vehicles in the city. As more people move to the city, local mobility must adapt to these new forms of life. In addition, the built-in technology has the potential to prevent car accidents.
Lead developer of this project is the German computer scientist Sebastian Thrun. After five years and hundreds of thousands of kilometers of testing phases, the model Aptera was presented that looks like a mix of smart and BMW Isetta with a touch of Disney design.
This is not a playground, but extremely seriously. Google is Tesla to the power of ten with the money that the search engine company has in the bank.
Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, head of the Center for Automotive Research