Google has announced this is has been working on a technology programme to create cars that can drive on their own. It revealed on an official blog post that its self-driving cars have already logged over 140,000 miles, though admittedly the cars were also manned by trained operatives.
Google said the reason behind the project was, “to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.”
The cars contain video cameras, radar sensors, and a laser range finder in order to navigate and detect traffic. Google’s detailed maps, manually obtained by its Google Street View cars are used, and the information is processed by Google’s data centres.
There’s no chance of picking up one of these cars for purchase, not even for ready money, as every car is manned by a trained safely driver, and a trained software engineer. Google said the driver can take over the controls instantly and that safety was its first priority. It also perfectly sets up ‘How Many Google Drivers Does it Take’ style gags.
The blog post reveals that according to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million lives are lost every year in road traffic accidents. “We believe our technology has the potential to cut that number, perhaps by as much as half. We’re also confident that self-driving cars will transform car sharing, significantly reducing car usage, as well as help create the new “highway trains of tomorrow." These highway trains should cut energy consumption while also increasing the number of people that can be transported on our major roads.”
All noble, and admirable aims, and we very much hope it succeeds. If you’ve a child of the 80s though, we know that all we really care about, is when we can have our very own KITT.