Google has attempted to take transport technology one step further with their own self-driving cars. The cars are apparently being tested across the San Francisco Bay Area. Google is hoping that these cars will prevent the number of crashes on the road, presumably meaning that if we all had this kind of car, there would be no crashes at all. The cars which Google have developed and are currently testing are all modified Toyota Prius.
The car works on its own accord using various artificially intelligent software, which can take in its surroundings (up to 200 feet in all directions) thanks to a sensor which very closely resembles Google’s trademark Street View camera, which in turn creates a 3D map of what is around the vehicle. This map is analysed by the software to figure out the speed, direction, and other required procedures and act accordingly to the situation. Google has declared that the software can be programmed to be particularly cautious or a little aggressive, if need be.
Although no driver is required for the car, Google has been testing the cars with someone sitting in the driver’s seat (presumably for safety reasons and accountability) and hopefully this will be required at all times for a manual override if things take a turn for the worst. The car is not ready for the open road yet, with the technology apparently being a very advanced form of cruise control as opposed to some sort of sentient driving technology.
So, could this be the future for car technology? Could we be in the drivers seat of the car drunk with no repercussions? Will it catch on? Keep in mind that Google aren’t the first to create this kind of technology, with car’s such as Stanford University’s Stanley Car which can supposedly process information on its surroundings in 300 milliseconds. Regardless, will a big name like Google pushing the idea bring it into our every day lives? I guess we’ll just have to twiddle our thumbs and wait for now.