Very easy rider: Now Google plans driverless robot motorbike – and wants …

  • Documents show Google has written to the California state government to request permission to test motorbikes and trucks on public roads
  • The technology giant has caused controversy
    over driverless vehicle testing as
    critics complain of our ever-increasing reliance
    on technology
  • The company’s driverless car technology remains in the prototype stage, but their autonomous fleet has travelled more than one million kilometres

Corey Charlton



Google has begun lobbying the state of California to allow it to test driverless motorbikes and trucks on its roads.

The technology giant has caused controversy over its driverless vehicle testing in recent years as critics complain of its role in our ever-increasing reliance on technology.

Despite the project still being in its infancy, documents reveal Google now wants to extend its permission to use driverless cars on public roads to other types of vehicles.

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Google engineer Anthony Levandowski with the 'Ghostrider' robot motorbike he developed

Google engineer Anthony Levandowski with the ‘Ghostrider’ robot motorbike he developed

The Sunday Times
reported Ron Medford, the director of safety for Google’s self-driving
car programme, requested permission in a letter to the California state
government on January 13.

It said: ‘It is certainly possible that future testing could include motorcycles or larger commerical vehicles.

some innovator can demonstrate that testing autonomous technology on
such vehicles is safe, then they should be allowed to test.’

January this year, a group protested outside the home of Google engineer and
creator of the driverless Ghostrider motorbike Anthony Levandowski, over
his role in developing autonomous vehicles and Google’s links to Boston
Dynamics – a military robotics contractor Google acquired last year.

driverless motorbikes are designed with any similarity to Google’s
autonomous cars, the vehicle as we know it will undergo a radical

The Prius and Lexus cars Google have refitted for its prototypes have no steering wheels and pedals, with sensors removing blind spots.

Capped at a speed of 40kph, they feature two seats with seat belts, buttons to start and stop and a screen showing the vehicle’s route.

Google boasts the vehicles ‘never get tired or distracted’ and said have clocked up about 1.2million kilometres of driving time on California roads.

Using imagery of its surroundings processed in real time, the cars are said to anticipate objects and other obstacles as they travel, scanning a distance of two football fields around themselves.

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