Self-driving cars 'coming soon'

Ealing Times: Google co-founder Sergey Brin with a driverless car in Mountain View, California Google co-founder Sergey Brin with a driverless car in Mountain View, California

A future containing self-driving cars is not very far away according to internet giant Google, which already has a prototype on the streets.

In a new post on the company's official blog, the search engine provider showed off the software it has created and is testing in cars on the streets of Mountain View, California, where the company is based.

Chris Urmson, director of the self-driving car project at Google said: "Since our last update, we've logged thousands of miles on the streets of our hometown of Mountain View. A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area.

"We've improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously - pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn. A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can't - and it never gets tired or distracted."

A self-driving car is just one of the futuristic projects that Google is working on as part of the company's X Lab - which is where Google Glass, the company's wearable headset that links with your smartphone, originated.

The technology firm is also experimenting with weather balloons that contain WiFi signal in order to bring internet access to remote parts of the world. Facebook has also announced plans for a similar project involving remotely-piloted drones.

"Our vehicles have now logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles, and with every passing mile we're growing more optimistic that we're heading toward an achievable goal - a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention", said Chris Urmson, who claimed that the company's computers are able to comfortably predict what happens on city streets.

The self-driving car project has been in existence for four years, and came as a response to World Health Organisation figures which reported that more than one million people are killed in road traffic accidents each year.

Comments (3)

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1:44pm Tue 29 Apr 14

A Very Private Gentleman says...

It will not work very muck akin to governors and speed restriction devices.
There will always be a way to override them.
Plus the fact that there are far too many ego's on the road to want to be controlled by a pieces of soft and hardware.
But I suppose the system would be great intermittently for the girlie s while they want to put their make up on.
Then the override switch would be activated and its foot back tot he floor. AVPG.
It will not work very muck akin to governors and speed restriction devices. There will always be a way to override them. Plus the fact that there are far too many ego's on the road to want to be controlled by a pieces of soft and hardware. But I suppose the system would be great intermittently for the girlie s while they want to put their make up on. Then the override switch would be activated and its foot back tot he floor. AVPG. A Very Private Gentleman
  • Score: 0

9:47pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Chippy70 says...

Oh good, so the young lasses can text away to their hearts content
Oh good, so the young lasses can text away to their hearts content Chippy70
  • Score: 0

5:42pm Wed 30 Apr 14

varteg1 says...

This State has been trying to get us to drive as though our vehicles are on rails for years.

Cars that drive with minimal driver input is a step further along that road.

I suppose this is a consequence of SatNav technology, if the satellite can tell you where you are at any given moment, it's not a long throw to letting the same or similar technology, direct your vehicle.

Just punch in, 'take me home' or 'take me to my girl friends house' will be all you will require.
Later it will be an oral command,....... 'computer take me home'. or..' head for Tesco'
Who will need a driving licence? Just think, you can get in your car,m tell it to go down the Horse 'n Jockey, get p*ssed out of your skull, and tell the car to take you back home,

Breathalysers? Phooey! what cop will need to use one, I can't see a car getting bagged, what about having a bit of hanky panky in the back seat whilst the car rides around the streets.

There we may come across the matter of... 'who's in charge, the driver or the car?

Stormy waters ahead.
This State has been trying to get us to drive as though our vehicles are on rails for years. Cars that drive with minimal driver input is a step further along that road. I suppose this is a consequence of SatNav technology, if the satellite can tell you where you are at any given moment, it's not a long throw to letting the same or similar technology, direct your vehicle. Just punch in, 'take me home' or 'take me to my girl friends house' will be all you will require. Later it will be an oral command,....... 'computer take me home'. or..' head for Tesco' Who will need a driving licence? Just think, you can get in your car,m tell it to go down the Horse 'n Jockey, get p*ssed out of your skull, and tell the car to take you back home, Breathalysers? Phooey! what cop will need to use one, I can't see a car getting bagged, what about having a bit of hanky panky in the back seat whilst the car rides around the streets. There we may come across the matter of... 'who's in charge, the driver or the car? Stormy waters ahead. varteg1
  • Score: 0
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