“Driving” the Google Self-Driving Car
I got a chance to sit behind the wheel as we drove down Hwy 280, and it felt comfortable almost immediately. I felt like I should keep my foot near the pedals and hands near the wheel at the start, but after a minute or so, I found myself relaxed in a comfortable position.
One little detail that I missed on prior drives: The car normally drives straight down the middle of the lane, but if a driver to the side starts to drift over, it will scoot to the side of the lane, and if the other car keeps going, it will change lanes. So I had to wonder how long until someone tries to goof on the robo car by “pushing” it across lanes…
Compared to the first version, retrofitted to a Prius, everything but the roof is much better. The computer is completely hidden around the spare tire (no loss of trunk space). The native wheel rotation sensors are more accurate, and so external wheel clamp needed. The simple on and off buttons for automatic driving are on the wheel now. And there is a new button on the left dash that lets you add or subtract MPH targets from the auto-detected speed limit. The upper bound for the user is limited by software protocol as the speed limit + 10 MPH. Safer to go with the flow of traffic… =)