Google Autonomous Vehicles Are Working On Mastering City Street Driving
April 28, 2014 10:25 AM
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Google says city driving challenges that stumpped it two years ago are now easy to manage
Google is making great strides in demonstrating the
viability of autonomous vehicles
on public roads. The internet giant currently has a large fleet of autonomous vehicles cruising around the country as it works to
further improve its technology
. While most of those vehicles operate on highways, Google is currently working to help its autonomous vehicles master the more difficult art of driving on city streets.
The big challenge for autonomous systems in driving on city streets is the unexpected. People stepping off curbs into the street and vehicles unexpectedly merging are examples of challenges autonomous vehicles face in city driving. More complications stem from the fact that bicyclists and motorcyclists might be using hand gestures to signal turns.
To further hone its skills, Google says that it has logged thousands of miles in city driving with its vehicle test fleet in its home city of Mountain View, California.
"As we’ve encountered thousands of different situations, we’ve built software models of what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it),” wrote Chris Urmson, Director, Self-Driving Car Project, on the Official Google Blog.
“We still have lots of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously."
Google says that so far, its autonomous vehicle fleet has racked up 700,000 autonomous miles and it is continuing to work towards its
goal of a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention
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RE: So what happens...
4/28/2014 12:57:22 PM
What makes you think the computer wouldn't handle such an emergency better than a human driver.
A person has a longer reaction time before realizing that the car has lost traction. The computer isn't going to overreact out of surprise. It is less likely to overcompensate for fishtailing in one direction and end up spinning out the other direction.
I used to drive real wheel drive car or truck a lot in icy weather, but it still takes a little remembering the first time I hit ice in a while.
A computer's memory doesn't get foggy. It doesn't get complacent or distracted. A human being is better equipped to handle some situations, but I suspect that once they work things out the computer will handle ice better than the average driver.
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