Google Automated Cars: First Look
Jay Williams - 13/October/2010
California, United States
safety and efficiency are two key elements in todays society. Luckily
for us, Google have been working away in secret to help prevent traffic
accidents, commuting time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally
changing car use.
What am I talking about you ask? Well Google has
been developing new technologies for cars that can drive themselves.
Automated cars, manned by trained operators have
logged over 225,000km driving around the streets of California.
These automated cars use video cameras, radar
sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other vehicles, as well as
detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) 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 these cars when mapping their terrain.
To help develop these new technologies Google has
recruited engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous
vehicle races organised by the U.S. Government.
Google said that safety has been their first
priority in this project. Each car is manned by a trained safety driver
behind the wheel who can intervene at anytime if need be. And a trained
software operator in the passenger seat monitors the software.
According to the World Health Organization, "1.2
million lives are lost every year in road traffic accidents." Google
believe that their technology has the potential to cut that number,
perhaps by as much as half and are confident that self-driving cars
will transform car sharing, significantly reducing car usage, as well
as help create the new “highway trains of tomorrow."
This project is very much in the experimental
stage and it may be some time until we see automated cars on the
market, but, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look
like in the future thanks to advanced computer science.
Prius Hybrid (2009)
Camry Aussie Hybrid (2010)
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