Google's driverless car initiative has been off to a great start, getting approval from legislators in California for real world testing, and even its own mini-city in Michigan. While several car manufacturers are also working on building completely autonomous vehicles, a startup is looking for another way to go driverless. Cruise Automation created a $10,000 device that straps to the roof of your existing vehicle, then plugs into the footwell to take over your car.
The device, called the Cruise RP-1, "sees the road and cars around you." It does this through a combination of cameras and radar, as well as Sensor Pod relays, which allow Cruise to make split second navigation decisions.
To be clear, Cruise isn't completely driverless. A human still needs to be in the car and able to take over the driving. It's more of a "highway autopilot." First, you drive onto the highway and select a lane. Then, much like regular cruise control, you turn Cruise on. Cruise takes over the gas and brake pedals, but in a twist, it also takes control of the steering wheel. If the driver needs to, they can turn Cruise off right away, either by tapping the pedals or grabbing the steering wheel. This is a very different approach to Google's car, which doesn't have any of these traditional car components. (It doesn't even have brake pedals.)