Google this week embarked on its most concerted effort to provide an up-close look at its self-driving cars. The company provided 30-minute ride-alongs to more than two dozen reporters, showcasing the car's ability to automatically and safely navigate around Mountain View, CA, streets packed with cyclists, pedestrians, and traffic signs. Google managers also discussed the self-driving car technology during morning press briefings at the Computer History Museum.
Company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin believe the driverless car is revolutionary technology because it has the potential to sharply reduce fatalities on the road.
Still, consumer acceptance and regulation may be as important as perfecting the technology. The public needs to understand that a self-driving car is "not something that you need to fear but something you need to embrace," says Ron Medford, director of safety for Google's self-driving car project. "We do find that when people experience it, we get remarkable results and responses," Medford says.
Brin says the technology could be available by 2017.
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