Google unveils plans for driverless car

BY Talia Mindich  May 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM EDT

Google will begin building its own driverless cars, co-founder Sergey Brin announced Tuesday night at a conference in California.

The “almost cartoon-like” electric vehicle will start and stop at the press of a single button, and will not have any steering controls. To reduce pedestrian injuries, a foam-like material will take the place of a traditional bumper, and the windshield will be more flexible.

“We’re really excited about this vehicle – it’s something that will allow us to really push the capabilities of self-driving technology, and understand the limitations,” said Chris Urmson, director of the company’s self-driving project.

The cars will rely on the Google map system to navigate the roads.

However, the announcement has provoked concern that Google cars in emergency situations and climates less comfortable than Mountain View, Calif., where Google has been building a fleet 100 experimental electric-powered cars with removable steering controls.

If the early versions of the vehicles turn out well, Google will run a small pilot program in California in the next couple of years.