American internet and technology giant Google Inc. plans to test drive their new autonomous self-driving vehicles in Osaka, Japan. The Internet-based company has been developing cars that can be maneuvered and travel without a driver needed. Talks between the company and the city of Osaka are underway for the possibility of testing their new invention in the bay area in the next few months.
A computer placed inside the car controls Google’s self-driving vehicle’s steering wheel and brakes. It also computes its distance from other vehicles, people and establishments with the use of radar and a camera through a Global Positions System (GPS). Officials from the city of Osaka believe that Google car’s self-driving system will be of great aid in transportation especially for the elderly and people with disability. Japan, whose elderly population is continually increasing, is an appealing market for this kind of vehicle.
Testing of automatic cars in the United States has already begun. So far, the tests have been successful and without accident for driving 500,000 kilometers. Special adviser to Osaka and start-ups on Silicon Valley, Hiroshi Menjo, served as the go-between Osaka and Google. Some officials from Osaka even visited Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California last November. While there, city officials said they will allow testing of the automatic cars in their prefecture, including the artificial islands of Sakishima, Yumeshima and Maishima.
Last November, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe test-drove different automatic cars from Nissan, Honda and Toyota before the Tokyo Motor Show opened. He has even pledged to push for the development of self-driving cars technology to be globally competitive with other international carmakers. Google and Osaka will continue talks until a final test-drive plan has been outlined.
[via The Japan News]
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