The world’s first Shabbat car using Google technology will hit the roads later this year.
Google’s California headquarters announced on Thursday it will partner with Israeli firm, Chauffer Shabbat, to develop a driverless car that can be pre-programmed to various destinations and requires no human intervention for the duration of the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday.
Much like a Shabbat elevator, the car operates automatically and will not need to be switched on or off, a feature that will appeal to more observant Jews who abstain from operating electrical switches on the Sabbath.
The engine can remain on for 25 hours, but a special hibernation mode developed by the Israeli firm ensures it can run at the lowest possible levels and uses only a tiny percentage of the vehicle’s stored fuel.
In winter months, the car’s external lights can also be programmed to automatically turn on, much like time switches used by observant Jews in their homes.
Other features include doors that can be opened with a traditional key, rather than an electronic fob and automatic climate control.
A luxury version of the car even has a hot plate fitted into the glove compartment, which can be used to keep chicken soup and kugel warm while travelling to a destination for Friday night dinner or Saturday lunch.
A Shabbat car will doubtless prove beneficial to those currently unable to walk to synagogue, including the elderly, wheelchair bound and young children.
Following yesterday’s announcement, the Nasdaq jumped 0.3%, with stakeholders and Jewish leaders hailing the new technology as “revolutionary”.
Shabbat Chauffeur spokesman Michal Muksa confirmed the first fleet of cars are already in production and will be available in white and blue.
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