Not only does Google want to take you out of the driver’s seat — the future of driverless cars envisioned by the company may not even require you to plug in your robot automobile.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is testing a pair of wireless charging systems for its prototype self-driving cars, according to recent documents filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. The news was first reported by tech site IEEE Spectrum.
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The two wireless charging systems, made by New York’s Hevo Power and Philadelphia-based Momentum Dynamics, are the first to be tested on Google’s latest prototype, which was revealed in June 2015. Power is transferred to the car via a “manhole cover”-style transmitter disc in the ground, eliminating the need for the operator to leave the vehicle in order to juice up — but also paving the way (literally) for Google to possibly build a Zipcar-style taxi service that could have cars that dock and recharge themselves in between passengers.
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Google’s autonomous driving project began in 2009, with the twofold goal of taking people “where you want to go at the push of a button – no driving required” and reducing the 94 percent of traffic accidents that are caused by human error. To date, Google’s fleet of self-driving cars has logged almost two million miles in test drives.
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