Is Google's Self-Driving Car Really A Car Or Something Else?

Google's new self-driving car has no gas pedal, no brake and no steering wheel; it is what is termed as "Level 4 Autonomous", meaning no human interaction is needed (or possible). So is it really a car, as we currently understand the term? Being the old fuddy-duddy that I am, I would suggest "no" - it's something else; robo-buggy, magic people carrier, or whatever. Is this really the future? Google co-founder Sergei Brin talks about a transformative technology, so it sounds like he hopes so.

The little two seater looks like a cross between a VW Beetle and a Smart ForTwo; small, cute and unassuming. 100 vehicles are being rolled out for the initial testing, with a top speed of 25mph. Once the first phase of testing is done, a larger pilot rollout is planned and at some point one assumes Google will team up with a large-capacity manufacturer to start knocking these "cars" out for public consumption. The Google head is a bit coy about the future plans, but it should be interesting to see if this is really the start of something potentially huge (and disruptive).

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