Self-driving cars will be on the roads by 2020

The head of Google's self-driving car project said he hopes his 11-year-old son will never have to pass his driving test

Google has confirmed its commitment to self-driving cars by saying they will be on the roads by 2020, if the department's director has any say in the matter.

Chris Urmson, director of the search engine's self-driving car division, explained that his son is due to take his driving test in four-and-a-half years and he is urging his team to ensure self-driving cars are mainstream by that time so he doesn't need to take his test.

Joking aside, he said one of the main reasons Google wants to develop self-driving cars is accident prevention and the number one way to do that is to remove the driver, which is the least reliable part of a car.

"Some 1.2 million people are killed on the roads around the world each year. That number is equivalent to a jet falling out of the sky every day," Urmson explained at the TED conference in Vancouver.

Additionally, he said driverless cars are more efficient than those with a human at the wheel. According to Google's research, six billion minutes a day are wasted sitting in traffic.

Google's self-driving cars were first released in 2009 and the prototypes - designed as pods - have racked up 700,000 miles on roads around Silicon Valley.

They are manufactured without a steering wheel or conventional controls, because Google believes they don't need human interaction to work. However, the prototype vehicles will have some controls, just in case those testing the cars run into any problems during the testing period.

Urmson continued: "That is not to say that driver-assistance cars won't be useful but if we are really going to make changes to our cities, get rid of parking lots, we need self-drive cars."

Featured Resources

Next-generation time series: Forecasting for the real world, not the ideal world

Solve time series problems with AI

Free download

The future of productivity

Driving your business forward with Microsoft Office 365

Free download

How to plan for endpoint security against ever-evolving cyber threats

Safeguard your devices, data, and reputation

Free download

A quantitative comparison of UPS monitoring and servicing approaches across edge environments

Effective UPS fleet management

Free download

Recommended

Iranian hacking group continues to target US citizens
hacking

Iranian hacking group continues to target US citizens

18 Oct 2021
Ennoconn and Google Cloud enter a strategic alliance
Cloud

Ennoconn and Google Cloud enter a strategic alliance

14 Oct 2021
Google Workspace adds Jira and AppSheet integrations
collaboration

Google Workspace adds Jira and AppSheet integrations

13 Oct 2021
Google Cloud reveals edge-focused Distributed Cloud portfolio
cloud computing

Google Cloud reveals edge-focused Distributed Cloud portfolio

13 Oct 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
PayPal dismisses $45 billion Pinterest takeover as "market rumour"
Acquisition

PayPal dismisses $45 billion Pinterest takeover as "market rumour"

25 Oct 2021