3 min August 14, 2014 in

7 things you should know about Google’s self-driving cars

I am sure you’ve all probably dreamed by now about self-driving cars. Isn’t Google great? It’s like they just took a glimpse into the future and started doing something about it. Based on the latest products Google has launched, it seems like the future is in their hands. Let’s see how this works.

self driving cars

1. Google started this project back in 2009. In the beginning, vehicles were only roaming the California highways. It took thousands of miles for the car (0r should I say, for the computer on board) to master the art of driving. By now, Google’s self-driving cars managed to log 700 000 miles. That is pretty impressive, even though there is a long road ahead with many more miles to go.

2. Driving through the city, however, is very different from driving on the highway. There are many more obstacles that we need to pay attention to: traffic lights, pedestrians, stop signs, cyclists, buses, other cars, areas where buildings are under construction. The software doesn’t get tired or distracted as people do. It is always aware of its environment.

3. In this video, you can see exactly how Google’s self-driving vehicles work. If the car finds itself in an unsure situation, and doesn’t know what to do, it will most likely stop. The car’s basically saying “Okay, I’m done. You take the wheel”.

4. Some big car companies, such as Toyota, Mercedes or Audi, struggle to also bring this feature to their cars. BMW even stated that by 2020, they would have computer driven cars, and by 2025, their cars wouldn’t even need a driver anymore. The thing is, Google is way ahead of them.

5. Self-driving vehicles may play a major part in dealing with safety on the roads. Statistics say that 90% of collisions happen due to human error. Thus, these can be avoided with the help of a special computer based program. This is the main reason that made Google develop this futuristic idea.

6. A self-driving car is a doable idea, even though it still needs to be perfected on small details. In every car, there is a human that observes how the program is reacting in different situations. Based on the program’s behavior, it is then adjusted in order to be able to give a much better response in certain situations.

7. The only problem with Google’s self-driving cars is that they need detailed maps, maps that are only available in Mountain View, the city where this system was tested. Hopefully, in the future, this will change. Google is making, however, a lot of progress, with the development of Google Maps.

Google is stepping up their game with self-driving cars

The self-driving cars will most likely turn out to be the next best thing. The chaos within the city traffic proves that people can’t always predict what will appear in front of them. Computers, however, can be programmed in order to avoid all kinds of accidents. We all know that even a fraction of a second can be all it takes to make a mistake. As drivers, we are responsible for those around us.

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