Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Their next step into that realm is making auto driving cars. The Google Blog announced Google has “developed technology for cars that can drive themselves.” Yes, auto-driving cars, like from the movies and high tech TV shows.
Google’s reasoning behind this move is to make the roads safer and reduce accidents. Google said they have been testing this for a while and have already driven 140,000 miles with trained safety drivers who can override the system at any time. Google explained the cars figure out how to drive using video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead – which is all pulled from Google’s data centers. I won’t get into the possible privacy issues of Google navigating all the cars in the world.
How soon until you or I can get this installed on our cars? Google said, “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.”
The New York Times has pictures and a video, which I will embed below. There is also a diagram of how the cars are modified.
More discussion on this topic can be found on Techmeme.