Monday, October 18, 2010
Google launches self-drive car, which is implemented Google Maps
Google has built cars robots that can run itself, and use more Google applications like Google Maps, etc to "see" how to drive. Although there were people from traveling, to make sure everything went well, Google's new car managed to drive himself around the state of California that is curved down Lombard Street San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway, and Mountain View headquarters of Google all the way to Santa Monica, 350 miles. The cars have logged 140,000 miles.
"Our cars are using automatic video cameras, radar sensors and a laser rangefinder to" see "the traffic of others, as well as detailed maps (which collect vehicle with the engine flywheel) to navigate the road. This is possible thanks to the Google data centers that can process vast amounts of information collected by our vehicles to make a map of their land" says Google.
"Safety has been our first priority in this project. Our cars are never unmanned. We always have a trained safety driver behind the wheel who can take over as easily as one disengages cruise control. And we also have a trained software operator in the passenger seat to monitor the software. Any test begins by sending out a driver in a conventionally driven car to map the route and road conditions. By mapping features like lane markers and traffic signs, the software in the car becomes familiar with the environment and its characteristics in advance. And we’ve briefed local police on our work," Google says.
Stakes are huge
The stakes for the human race are huge. More than 1.2 million people die in road traffic accidents every year, according to the World Health Organization; Google thinks it can cut that number by up to half, as self-driving cars become more reliable than autos with flesh-and-blood people at the wheel. Google says self-driving cars will "transform car sharing, significantly reducing car usage" (I'm not sure how that would work. If cars are easier, more convenient, and safer to use, wouldn't that make people drive more?).