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Google Self-Driving Car

Postby IDAL » May 28th, 2014, 8:26 am

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What are your thoughts on this? I think they've missed an opportunity to be truly innovative. I see just a normal ugly car without steering wheel when they could have gone for something totally different, not just going from point A to B, but use the time in between to connect with other people who is traveling with you, work or just use this commuting time usually you waste when driving. The technique behind it is amazing, but in my opinion they should have gone a step further and create a totally new concept. It could be they just wanna show the technology and nothing more than that.

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby iab » May 28th, 2014, 10:16 am


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IDAL wrote:I think they've missed an opportunity to be truly innovative./


A self-driving car doesn't fit the bill? Tough audience. ;)

But what are you looking for? Something other than 4 wheels? Something other than a seated position? No windows? No headlights? No safety belts? No doors?

Sure, you can do those things, but they would likely be dismissed as gimmicky.

I suppose you could have the passengers facing each other, front to back like a train car, but this is a small 2-seat commuter, 2 people facing each other can be awkward.

I would like the seats to recline enough to nap, other than that, there easily could be a tray (like a plane) for my computer/book/food/whatever or a head-up display. But showing a tray is not something I would call innovative, neither would be a head-up display.

Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Cameron » May 28th, 2014, 11:12 am

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Love the pursuit of technology, as long as it doesn't become compulsory or get NSA OnStar tech. =)

More so with Google than anyone else, the need for the kindergarten cutesie look is needed to offset reservations about the downsides.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby BUSHBY » May 28th, 2014, 11:28 am


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This is an exposure exercise not a product launch, the removal of the steering wheel is a big enough of a change to freak most people out.

Everything is designed to put the general public at ease as much as possible...

Simple muted design to make you talk about the tech, not its looks.
Limited speed of 25mph
Picking older generation participants to test and review it

Its a stepping stone to a big change. People will be talking about it and considering how it would change their lives.
Last edited by BUSHBY on May 28th, 2014, 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Cameron » May 28th, 2014, 11:32 am

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Didn't they hire Mike and Maaike already a few years ago, the people behind the 'rolling room' concept?
http://www.mikeandmaaike.com/press/ATNMBL
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby slippyfish » May 28th, 2014, 11:56 am

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Cameron wrote:Didn't they hire Mike and Maaike already a few years ago, the people behind the 'rolling room' concept?
http://www.mikeandmaaike.com/press/ATNMBL


Yes, and they were subsequently bought by Google.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby rsuzuki » May 28th, 2014, 12:24 pm

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I actually really like their cute approach. Google is not an automotive company, and I see this design as a way they acknowledge that. They're not designing a car, they're showcasing their tech.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby bepster » May 28th, 2014, 12:42 pm

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Anybody caught the selfdriving car cameo in HBO's Silicon Valley a couple weeks ago?
Hilarious!
In general, I think that show actually keeps hitting nails on heads regarding the tech scene in the Bay Area.

I kinda see where Google tried to go with this, friendly and approachable. Unfortunately, that is not what I would want.
I want a car I can trust, that feels save and equipped to make serious decisions on my behalf.

I think the earlier rendering looks a lot better. Not so face-like. The camera (nose) was in line with the headlight and there was no unnecessary mouth. No idea why they emphasize the face, that car just looks freaked out to me.

It is however very interesting and I feel that if anybody has the muscle to do it, it'll probably be Google.
Last edited by bepster on May 29th, 2014, 3:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby C4B7 » May 28th, 2014, 1:09 pm


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After watching their video I think they nailed the design.
Hearing the points that the test users talked about were not about how different it was, but how similar it was with a little better improvement. It may have been careful editing but I think it shows a great way to make a drastic societal change simple and intuitive.

Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Mr-914 » May 29th, 2014, 6:24 am

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Cyberdemon » May 29th, 2014, 7:17 am

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Mr-914 wrote:The first generation of new technologies always adopt an existing paradigm.

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+1

It has a VW Beetle level of cuteness and approachability. Given the amount of scary lasers, cameras and sensors, if it looked like an F117 Stealth Fighter it may be cooler, but probably scare the crap out of people.

Likewise if it looked like a Syd Mead or Daniel Simon machine of the future, we would all love it but the general public wouldn't know what to do with it.

Also keep in mind this - most cars look the way they do because there are hundreds of laws and rules about what a road going vehicle NEEDS to have. Headlights NEED to be above a certain height - even if the car doesn't need them to see. Impact and crash ratings need to be met even if it doesn't drive fast enough to need them. So there are tons of existing constraints around getting something to fit in the same paradigm.

A similar anecdote: My uncle has been developing electric ultralight aircraft, and aviation suffers from a very similar flaw. There are tons of laws and rules in place - including one which specifically measures the weight of an aircraft with fuel. However when the fuel is electricity, the laws had not been changed to allow for a higher weight (to account for batteries but no fuel) which meant the rules needed to change before the form factor could evolve.

Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Mr-914 » May 29th, 2014, 11:31 am

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I don't know if it is still law, but Germany had a law that mandated a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and front wheels. BMW ran into the law while researching drive-by-wire.

Maybe Google can put a 3" dia. steering wheel in just to pass the law hehe.
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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Lmo » May 29th, 2014, 7:24 pm

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It may have two seats, seat belts, and room for storage, but if it doesn't have side airbags it's not legal to sell in the
United States. Of course no one said they were going to sell them...

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Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby yo » May 29th, 2014, 8:06 pm

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when do you think the hoarding of "freedom cars" begin? :-)


Re: Google Self-Driving Car

Postby Mr-914 » May 30th, 2014, 6:27 am

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Yo: I've actually thought about this. As a car fan and someone who enjoys driving it's hard to believe us dinosaurs will be allowed to drive the same place as the google-mobiles. I guess I can give up design and drive a car around Central Park or Old Montreal in place of the horse driven carriages they use today!
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