Google self driving pod, a glimpse into a near future

Google carHalf-way between a Tata Nano and an MDI AirPod, the Google driverless car prototype has no brakes, no pedals, nor even a steering wheel. But don’t fret, it does have a panic button.

Google peers into the future of transportation

The driverless car is about as bare bones as can be, but packs a lot of smart technology. As you would expect in this world of always-on, always-connected devices, the Google car is synced to your smartphone. It uses what Google has been hard at work with, its driverless software and hardware platform, basically those periscopes sticking out of the Google cars you might see driving around from time to time. The technology is used to map our streets and the world, and also serves as a platform for its driverless technology.

The future of transportation according to Google

Imagine this, if you will. A futuristic world, say five to 10 years away from now where single occupant cars are banned from cities and certain urban areas. A string of transportation pods awaits you at designated areas. You step off your personal transportation mode, open your connected mobile device, say your smart phone or tablet, walk over to a pod, sit inside and tell it where you need to go. After this, relax, kick back, you’re in safe hands and can start working, or watch a movie. Think it too far out? Think again.

Google is working with a 100 units built by in Detroit, all using electric motors and batteries. Their 25 mph (40 km/h) top speed won’t send you to the hairdresser, but the range is very promising with 100 miles (160 km) on a full charge.

While many of us will lament the loss of freedom driving our cars and to a certain extent, that freedom associated with it, a newer and younger generation is not familiar with the ownership of a personal car. They couldn’t care less if they owned one, since all they want is to go from point A to B while continuing their connected live. The Google pod cars are perfect for them, and I suspect many of us.

Let’s think about it. Those of us who still have a connection with our cars is should ask ourselves, how much are we enjoying commuting these days. Personally, I dread having to go to Los Angeles. I have to time just right so that I suffer as little congestion as possible. It’s just not fun driving in cities anymore. Driverless cars offload that drudgery, and gives you a certain amount of freedom to do the things you could never do before stuck in traffic.

So is Google getting into the carmaking business as its other Tesla Motors Silicon Valley neighbor did? So far it doesn’t look like it. Google is more interested in showing what it has to offer the transportation industry. Maybe Tesla will pick up on a few things, but in the meantime, if a transportation driverless pod like the Google car is just not your cup of tea, you can always get yourself a Movpak and get to the last mile while getting some exercise.

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart