A few weeks ago Google had its first media event for their self-driving car project. It wasn't a total unveiling, but more of a sneak peek. Generally, all the reviews were mundane...in the most positive sense. Journalists were expecting to be awed by the experience, but found the self-driving car to mimic regular driving habits so well, that the technology of it was almost forgotten during the ride.
Fast forward to now and Google has officially released a brand-type video about not only the project, but a Google-designed car from the ground up. Previously tested models were modified Lexus and Prius vehicles, but this prototype has the looks of a smart car with a very minimal interior (2 seats, no steering wheel, GPS monitor, and a small space for belongings). Although the intensive mapping needed around the country/world is just now being collected, it's exciting to think of the possibilities these cutesy cars could have on the future of transit. Self-driving cars face the hurdles of legislation (only CA allows testing currently, passenger behavior) and traditional design (the interior still looks like today's cars due to safety regulations, new road architectures aren't optimized, etc.) among other challenges, but will be at the forefront of discussion in just a few years. With the release of this video, though, 100 of these small prototypes have been ordered to be produced in Detroit alongside Google's statement that the company has no plans to run ads on GPS monitor...yet.