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Google unveils new driver-less car

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Google already drives most of our lives - well, our internet searches at least.

Now they’ve built a self-driving car without a steering wheel or any brake pedals.

Although this sounds like something out of Back To The Future II, it was in fact unveiled yesterday by Google CEO Sergey Brin in sunny California.

Sergey Bigwig tells us the cars have stop and go buttons but no controls at all. So far so fairground bumper car...

But the goal is for the cars is to be safer than human-driven cars with fewer crashes and less human error behind the wheel thanks to a very Googley solution: software.

Work on the search engine’s robo cars began in 2009 and today they can respond to a cyclist signalling across a lane, know the width of different streets and tell the difference between white and yellow road markings.

So if you find those London roundabouts a nightmare to navigate, Google’s driver-less cars could offer some reprieve.

So what other info do we know? Well, the cars will seat two people, be electric and have maximum speeds initially of 25mph.

Although snaps of the car show it looking a bit cartoon-like – it has no traditional bonnet, and the wheels are pushed to the corners - the makers describe it as a city car with a "friendly" face, designed to help people accept self-driving cars and reduce the risk of injury out on the road. The front's designed to be safer for pedestrians, with a soft foam-like material where a traditional bumper would be, and a more flexible windscreen. It looks like something from the futuristic world of the Jetsons. But it is pretty cute too.

The new Google car - driver not required

The cars will use a combination of laser and radar sensors along with camera data to drive, and depend on a Google map to measure the height of the traffic lights, positioning of zebra crossings, the depth of the curbs and width of lanes.

This is blowing our minds, but perhaps by 2020 we may be used to it. Just as well, as the cars could be on the road by next year and ready for the public from 2017.

Google recently revealed that its Space Age style cars have covered 700,000 miles of public roads already and that they are now taking on the tricky problem of busy city streets.

Supporters reckon the cars have the potential to revolutionise transport, by making roads safer, eliminating crashes, driver error and decreasing congestion and pollution.

But despite Google’s excitement some researchers aren't convinced and reckon there could be big downsides such as making traffic around the world even worse than it is already, as people accept longer commutes without the hassle of driving.

Having a car drive us around would certainly would serve as an incentive to get us behind the wheel that's for sure.

Check out the vid of people road testing the car below.. it is SO Jestons!

Words: Sofia Zagzoule

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