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Google producing world’s first driverless cars – and they’re electric

Date
30 May 2014
Google producing world’s first driverless cars – and they’re electric

LONDON: The world’s first driverless cars currently being produced by Google will be electric, signalling the huge potential that exists for low carbon innovation in the booming technology industry.

Google ensures the initial fleet of self-driving vehicles will be designed to operate safely despite having no human control, by using electronic sensors instead. Users will also be able to summon the car to pick them up with a mobile app.

But importantly, the game-changing new vehicles will be electric, according to a New York Times interview with Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

Google has a history of innovating in low carbon technology, with several wind farms around America and a recent high-profile acquisition of smart meter company Nest for US$3.2 billion.

The company had also previously announced itself as the largest electric vehicle (EV) charging station operator in the US, with a goal to introduce EV parking spaces for Google staff.

Chris Urmson, Director, Self-Driving Car Project, Google, wrote in the company’s official blog about Google's goal of improving public mobility: “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.”

Ben Ferrari, Director of Partnerships, The Climate Group, highlighted the importance of the fact the technology giant choose to use EVs: “The fact Google is planning to build its prototypes with the low carbon technology is encouraging. It shows strong confidence that clean tech is a reliable, cost-effective common sense solution and signals the potential for the booming technology industry to pave the way on low carbon innovation.”

Earlier in the year Google topped an annual list by The Fast Company ranking companies on their innovation efforts by analyzing their ability to ‘remake an industry, change consumer habits and challenge economic assumptions.’

Proving sustainability and innovation go hand-in-hand, Google was applauded for its long list of ‘life-changing’ and green projects and milestones, including Google Glass as well as autonomous vehicles.

Read more on Google's Green Blog

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Image: Google

By Clare Saxon

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