Google’s self-driving car initiative could hit the market as early as 2020, but until then Google is continuing to test its cars around Mountain View. Today, Google announced a new program that will see its self-driving cars become a little more interesting to look at. The new program, called Paint the Town, is touted by Google as being a “moving art experiment” and transforms the company’s self-driving cars into moving pieces of public art.
Google’s self-driving car initiative may not be as far off as many might think. During a talk at the TED conference in Vancouver, Google’s head of self-driving cars Chris Urmson said that his team is working to launch the technology onto the market by 2020 (that year may sound familiar if you’ve followed the Apple Car rumors). The executive said that he has an 11-year-old son that could be eligible to get his license in 4 and a half years, although he hopes that won’t be needed thanks to the availability of self-driving cars. “My team and I are committed to making sure that doesn’t happen,” Urmson said (via Re/Code).
(Googlers turned Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S into a pink Batmobile for April Fool’s Day)
According to a report from Bloomberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk has discussed with Google the possibility of adding self driving vehicle technology to its fleet of all-electric cars. The problem, says Musk, is that Google’s approach to the technology is currently too expensive compared to camera-based systems:
“The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive,” Musk said. “It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things… “We’ve had some technical discussions with Google” about its Light Detection and Ranging, or Lidar, laser tracking system, Musk said last week, noting that it’s an expensive approach that may not prove feasible, Musk said.
While it’s possible Google could contribute to bringing the driverless features to future Tesla vehicles, Musk told Bloomberg it’s more likely the company will develop its own “autopilot system”. That’s something that other automakers are already doing with Toyota, Lexus, and Audi all showing off self-driving car technology at CES back in January: Read more