Google unveiled that they have developed an automated car that can drive itself. The Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin want to solve really big problems using technology. That is why the founded Google in the first place. The goal with the Google autonomous car is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions.
The Google automated car just drove from the Google headquarters in Mountain View to the Google Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. The car has driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe. The Google self-driving cars have already logged over 140,000 miles.
The Google automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, 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 our cars when mapping their terrain.
Google says that they have hired the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government, for this project. The blog post on the Google site leaves open where Google wants to go with this new robot car. The NY Times (photo credit) has some more background on the Google robot car including photos and a video.
There is sure an application for self-driving cars in the future. The difficulty is how self-driving and human driven cars can co-exist without causing havoc on the highway.