Google Car Drives Itself

The Google driverless car is truly the next step in automobile technology, taking cars and literally eliminating the need for drivers. When Google created one of their initial prototypes, Stanley, it won first place in the DARPA Grand Challenge of 2005, receiving $2 million as the grand prize. The SUV was loaded with large sensors, radars, and cameras to tell it how close things are to it, where it is on the map and to help it obey traffic laws.
The newer models have almost eliminated these large bulky cameras in favor of nearly invisible internal ones. The one thing remaining to hide is a large camera on the top of the vehicle, which enables it to see things around it and determine the best route. In addition, small portions of the bumper have been cut out to allow for insertion of cameras and sensors to assure the car does not collide with any other cars or obstacles and also allows it to properly merge in and out of traffic, turn at correct points in the road and even stop before the white line at red lights and stop signs.

As far as commercialization, Google has made no immediate plans to manufacture and sell openly and there are no other companies making any. These cars, however, are already legal in Nevada, California and Florida. The Google team at first equipped at least 8 vehicles as test cars, consisting of six Toyota Prius, and Audi TT and a Lexus RX450h, these cars are surely outdated now as more official manufacturing is taking place. The test cars were equipped with about $150,000 worth of equipment, including a $70,000 lidar (laser radar) system. Only two accidents have been sustained by the car, one while one of the drivers was in control and the other involving the car being rear ended at a stoplight. In Nevada, license plates issued to autonomous cars will have a red background and feature an infinity symbol on the left side because “an infinity symbol is the best way to represent ‘the car of the future’.”

NY Times article:

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  1. Pingback: Apple is losing it | Burlington High School Help Desk

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