The new electric car prototypes are built from the ground up as autonomous vehicles making them different to Google’s fleet of modified self-driving Lexus sports utility vehicles, which have been driving around 10,000 miles of public roads a week.
The two-seater pods will run the same software as the modified Lexus cars, however, and will be capped to a top speed of 25mph. They were originally shown and have been tested on private roads without a steering wheel and typical car controls, instead operated by a touchscreen and a start-stop button.
Google recently acknowledged that its self-driving car fleet had been involved in 11 minor traffic incidents, having collectively driven 1m miles autonomously on public roads since the company began experimenting with the technology six years ago.
“Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident,” Chris Urmson, director of Google self-driving car project said. “Even when our software and sensors can detect a sticky situation and take action earlier and faster than an alert human driver. Sometimes we won’t be able to overcome the realities of speed and distance. Sometimes we’ll get hit just waiting for a light to change.”
Meat The Future – a joint exhibition from Oxford University’s Livestock Environment and People (LEAP) research programme and the University’s Museum of Natural History – is set to give visitors some serious food for thought about how the production and consumption of animal products affect people and planet.