Google cars drive themselves

October 19, 2010 – 10:10 am | by omer

Did you ever want to send text messages and maybe do some online surfing while driving on a busy street? Well those days are near! Google announced the invention of its automated cars, which they have been test driving on the streets of California. These include, six Toyota Priuses and one Audi TT, have effectively driven over 140,000 miles.

The self driven cars have a excess of hardware and software that permits them to be autonomous. Every car is eminent by the presence of a ‘lidar,’ a revolving antenna on the top that locates everything in a radius that expand over 230 feet in the region of the car. Four radar antenna’s, three in the facade and one in the back, lets the vehicle to spot far-away objects. A video camera installed close to the rear-view mirror perceives both traffic lights and impediments in motion. On the left back wheel, a position estimator sensor permits the car to place its own location on the map.

The cars drive in directions that are put in into a GPS navigation system, as well as thorough maps that have been composed in advance by regular cars. Along with containing geographic information, the cars also identify the speed limit of each road. The lidar, camera and sensors endlessly revise the map as the car is being driven. This is element of a method known as SLAM, or “simultaneous localization and mapping.” By keeping posted and taping alterations that take place on the road, the maps and records of the cars stay in progress.

Human-driven cars use GPS, the automatic cars employ a voice to put the driver on alert of the changes in direction, roads, and the position of the antennas. The computerized form of the cars can be dominated through a guidebook driving through three options: pressing a close by red button, stepping on the brake or rotating the steering wheel.

The invention of robotic cars is not new and it has been supported by the government. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has organized a chain of self-directed motor vehicle races and awarded the winners. Sebastian Thrun, the head of the Google cars project, took part in and won the $2 million Pentagon prize during the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge.

Google’s official blog reports that additional engineers on their team have been hired from the DARPA Challenges, including Chris Urmson, who led the Carnegie Mellon team to victory in the 2007 challenge, Mike Montemerlo, whose Stanford Team won the 2005 challenge and Anthony Levandowski, who built the first self-directed motorcycle in one of the challenges. Google also employed taught safety drivers to reserve the driving seat of the automatic cars as a safety measure. In the traveler seats, skilled technicians monitored the software.

Regardless of the so far success of the test driving of these robotic cars, there are some precincts to it. For one thing, the cars are not familiar with and cannot track hand signals.

One other concern is legal responsibility, as it is unlawful for the driver to be inattentive while driving, the drivermust be in control at all times.

Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at the Enderle Group, a business and technological advisory group, in an interview with TechNewsWorld said that Monetizing the automated cars is the real dilemma.

“We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society […] While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science. And that future is very exciting.”


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