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Google Invents Cars that Drive Themselves


Google Invents Cars that Drive Themselves

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.

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October 11, 2010, 3:55 pm

I hope it never takes off. After Google's gaffe in collecting WiFi data, what will stop them collecting data on where you travel to and selling it on to companies to target customers. I wouldn't be happy if I got an e-mail or text saying because you visited your mistress at such a place, can we recommend a nearby restaurant for a romantic meal? I think not!


October 11, 2010, 4:28 pm

That's rather uncharitable, bobsta. Think of all those lives that might be saved blah blah blah.

More to the point, though, Google already allow you to use a lot of their services anonymously and for those that require a log in, they allow you to delete data and export it too. Unless you believe in some grand conspiracy whereby they don't really delete your data...

If this ever came to fruition, I'm sure it would be subject to massive government regulation anyway. You would then only need to be paranoid about the government instead...


October 11, 2010, 4:50 pm

Random story but I was watching Minority Report with the missus over the weekend. She'd never seen it before and I mentioned to her that in the concept stages of development, Spielberg and co got dozens of the top names in science today to get together and dream up the 50 most likely techs for 2050 (or whenever the film is set) to put into the movie. She replied with something like "aye right then, we gonna have cars that drive themselves like that in 40 years are we? Dont think so". I'm going to print this off and show her...


October 11, 2010, 5:26 pm

Google didn't invent them, they've been around for years. They just bought some from another company and have been testing them..


October 11, 2010, 5:48 pm

@bobsta - Tempting to say that you can't really question Google's morality on that particular example :-)

I love the idea of a highway train - finally, after all these years of hoping. How very Kodacell!


October 12, 2010, 12:28 pm

Can't come soon enough. I hate driving and only really use my car for work. Would chuck it if I had a viable alternative. Roll on the future :)


October 12, 2010, 10:13 pm

Very good to have a major company invest in this.

It's hardly new though.



October 13, 2010, 3:52 am

I would never use this to *replace* a driver. This is also known as, allow the driver to take control whenever/however they want.. And I can only imagine governments wanting to use the technology to override the driver make them do what they want. (like pull over). Something that I am adamantly against.

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