Google invents Self-driving Cars

Every year, millions die in a car accident, worldwide. We’ve little intelligence to reduce this number, and subsequent efforts have failed to reduce the agony.

Google may seem to have found the solution: Self-Driving cars, the Future of Cars.

Google confirms that they have developed technology for cars that can drive themselves. The automated cars are manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard.

All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. The technology is a joint research project of Google and DARPA .

How Self-Driven Cars Work?

Google’s  automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

Safety had been our first priority in this project, as those cars could be overriden at any time by a manned driver.  Apart from that, a trained software operator seats in the passenger seat to monitor the software & realtime analytics & physics. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance.

The car can be programmed for different driving personalities — from cautious, in which it is more likely to yield to another car, to aggressive, where it is more likely to go first.

Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because the robot cars would eventually be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption.

The Google research program using artificial intelligence to revolutionize the automobile is proof that the company’s ambitions reach beyond the search engine business.

During a half-hour drive beginning on Google’s campus 35 miles south of San Francisco last Wednesday, a Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway. It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later.

What about Artificial Intelligence Errors Overriding?

To gain control of the car driver has to do one of three things: hit a red button near his right hand, touch the brake or turn the steering wheel. In practical tests, driver did have to do it twice : once when a bicyclist ran a red light and again when a car in front stopped and began to back into a parking space. But the car could have prevented the accident, on its own too.

Besides the team of 15 engineers working on the current project, Google hired more than a dozen people, each with a spotless driving record, to sit in the driver’s seat, paying $15 an hour or more. Google is using six Priuses and an Audi TT in the project.

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