Skip to comments.Google Cars Drive Themselves, in Traffic
Posted on 10/10/2010 4:36:17 PM PDT by lbryce
Anyone driving the twists of Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles recently may have glimpsed a Toyota Prius with a curious funnel-like cylinder on the roof. Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not actually driving.
The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.
With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Autonomous cars are years from mass production, but technologists who have long dreamed of them believe that they can transform society as profoundly as the Internet has.
Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. They speak in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided more than 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2008. 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.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
If the same criteria were applied as with air crashes, and as stringently, "accidents" would break down to a combination of negligence and pilot error, with mechanical failure far behind. Just saying.
It might not be a good idea to be texting while surfing the web on the laptop while changing clothes and doing makeup during breakfast while fiddling with the gizmos in the car while allegedly driving with a fresh hangover...
How much would it cost to keep the other car from getting the parking place? If cars are driven by computer then some cars will become more equal than other.
A funnel-like cylinder would look like... a dunce cap?
I think it’s brilliant. I’ve long called for us to “Automate Driving” on this board.
Imagine a world where the elderly and the young no longer have to be chauffeured. Where there are few or no autobody shops, few traffic cops, few traffic courts, no speeding tickets, no ambulance chasing lawyers, car insurance would be cheap.
The amount of waste in the economy from wrecked cars and injured automobile occupants would be eliminated.
It’s one of the best things we could do, and it should be well within our reach.
Sort of like Obama in the 1/2 white house.
I’m sure the car of the future will have a MS Windows OS that will crash at the wrong time. Explain that one to your insurance agent.
These guys were going way beyond proof of concept right into making automobiles operate a new way.
You could send your car all by itself to the dealer for a check up and any warranty work.
I hope these don’t spend too long in the overpriced novelty stage. Being epileptic, a car like this could really change my life for the better...
I want to know what the car will do to me when I flip it off in traffic.
Man! I wish my ‘60 Chevy Impala would have had that! Imagine being driven around while you neck in the back seat. I was born too early!
How did it become legal for these guys to NOT be in control of their automobiles?
I bet it is illegal to do that. Not that anyone will care unless they wreck and kill a bunch of people.
70 MPH and you get to inspect the blue screen of death.
Any shot at a manual ejection seat?
I’m skeptical. If only because I wonder about who would control the computer controlling your car.
Imagine: certain destinations need to be approved by your local DMV. Oh, you’ve reached your federally-mandated Fast Food Quota for the month, no McDonald’s for you...
That, and you’d have an easily accessible log detailing everywhere you travel.
Imagine a world where your car's autopilot runs under Windows.
Now imagine a world where a bunch of hackers (or terrorists) take control of a whole bunch of cars at the same time...