Tonight at Re/code's inaugural Code Conference, Google co-founder Sergey Brin announced the company's latest foray into autonomous vehicles. According to Brin the company will be making 100 or so self-driving car prototypes that are "designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal," the company says. Early prototypes of the car will cap speeds at 25 miles per hour.
A Google-designed prototype has been expected for some time now. Last August The Information reported the company was in talks with car manufacturers and working on its own design inside Google X, the company's future projects or "moonshots" lab.
Brin cheekily told Re/code on stage at the conference that the company was partnering with some automotive suppliers for parts. "We're not reinventing the wheel at Google X. We have proper wheels from automotive suppliers," he said.
Here's the full statement from a Google spokesperson:
We are now exploring what fully self-driving vehicles would look like by building some prototypes; they'll be designed to operate safely and autonomously without requiring human intervention. They won't have a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brake pedal … because they don't need them. Our software and sensors do all the work.
We're planning to build about a hundred prototype vehicles, and later this summer, our safety drivers will start testing early versions of these vehicles that have manual controls.
The vehicles will be very basic -- we want to learn from them and adapt them as quickly as possible -- but they will take you where you want to go at the push of a button. And that's an important step toward improving road safety and transforming mobility for millions of people.
Here's the company's prototype video from a recent blog post:
Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.
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