Skip to comments.Auto Revolution: A Promising Future for Self-Driving Cars
Posted on 02/03/2013 8:48:34 AM PST by EXCH54FE
A Lexus drives down the eight-lane highway outside Palo Alto, California, in heavy traffic. Except for the rotating cylinder perched on its roof like an oversized tin can and the word "Google" on its doors, it looks like any other car. In reality, though, it's a search engine on wheels.
The Lexus steers itself down the highway by itself. The man in the driver's seat -- Dmitri Dolgov, software engineer, never actually touches the wheel.
Dolgov explains what the car can do, which turns out to be quite a lot. It can steer, accelerate and brake automatically; it surveys its surroundings with cameras and uses radar to measure the distance to the car in front of it; and its laser scanner -- the cylinder on the roof -- monitors objects in all directions.
"See?" Dolgov asks, pointing as a car swerves in front of the Google vehicle from the right. There's no need for Dolgov to intervene. The robotic car has identified what is happening and gently brakes until there is once again a proper distance between the cars.
With its 12 vehicles, Google has the largest known test fleet of self-driving cars. All together, the Internet giant has covered over half a million kilometers (300,000 miles) in these robotic vehicles, most of it on California's public roads and highways. The cars have driven through Los Angeles, around Lake Tahoe and down the famous hairpin turns of San Francisco's Lombard Street. They have become so reliable, in fact, that Google is now taking SPIEGEL out for a demonstration.
Self-driving cars, long dismissed as a utopian pipe dream, are rapidly reaching the stage where they will be ready for the market. "We're not talking about 20 years here, but more like five," says Sebastian Thrun, initiator and director of Google's project.
(Excerpt) Read more at spiegel.de ...
The new VW hovercar is all the rage in China...
“...are rapidly reaching the stage where they will be ready for the market”
What ‘market’. Who on earth would want one of these?
Given what it takes to build a self-landing airplane, I wouldn’t expect to see reliably-self-driving cars for at least a quarter-century.
Worse than bad-I can already hear the personal injury attorneys panting in gleeful anticipation of chasing the mother of all ambulances...
Especially if it’s a self-driving ambulance.
Hop Windows is not the operating system...hate to get he blue screen of death....
I do have a '70 240Z to play in, though.
Big difference between driving and playing.
Seem like an avenue for more government control
Wouldn’t that be two-for-one litigation-with the vehicle manufacturer with the deepest pockets paying for all? In a market like the USA, where lawsuits are filed over coffee and papercuts, it is brainless to market a product that is a lawsuit lottery ticket...
Self-driving cars, even if they offered perfect safety (ha) and economy, are a bad idea because they represent government control of individual’s transportation. First step monitoring, second step taxation, third step restrictions, fourth step prohibition.
OK, Mr. Thrun, please explain why:
Basic Google navigational technology still has major flaws and I don't think it is ready to power self-driving cars.
One of their test cars passed me in the carpool lane on 237 a couple weeks back and I gave it a WIDE berth.
Someone might use these for a fleet of cabs. Of course this would take better voice recognition than we currently have, and people might not want to get into an ‘abandoned’ vehicle.
Automated factories of robots building cars that do not need humans to navigate?
What is the ultimate goal - people-less cities?
For those in the “Voluntary Human Extinction Movement”, the answer is “Yes”.
Let me know when they can get through a construction zone at night in the rain.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
“”There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977”
I think this is a little different. Americans have a love affair with driving. We have demonstrated this for half a century by eschewing public transportation in all but the most congested metro areas.
I guarantee that the ‘market’ for these cars will be funded by government grants and curious billionaires.
The other day I pulled into a tire shop...all of the sudden I got a spam text for some tire coupons to the place. I immediately turned off my phone’s GPS....and I certainly would never ride around in a car with Google logging my travels. I think the vast majority of Americans are like me - they like driving; and, using Google for their travels is a bridge too far in the loss of privacy.
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