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Google self-driving car gets a driving licence

by Mark Tyson on 9 May 2012, 10:43

Tags: Toyota, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabge5

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The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has approved a license for Google’s self-driving car. The specially equipped Toyota Prius is armed with lasers, roof mounted video cameras and radar sensors to help it sense the environment. Also, of course, it uses Google software, mapping in particular, to get around. Officials from Nevada DMV have ridden as passengers in the cars “along freeways, state highways and neighbourhoods both in Carson City and the busy Las Vegas Strip” in order to assess the car’s ability to drive safely.

The new self-driving cars will be identified with a special red number plate bearing the infinity symbol, though there are plenty of other visual clues for the police or fellow motorists to indicate what kind of car it is (see picture).

 

Google car

 

The Google self driving car has already undergone extensive tests with a “trained driver” sitting in the driving position ready to take over, if at any time the car software/system failed. In this way the car has already clocked up 140,000 miles 'accident free'. Though someone did run into the back of the car on one occasion when it stopped at a red light. And also there are reports of a Google driverless car crashing when it was being driven by a human.

In recent years we have seen more and more driving automation; cruise control has been with us for many years (and is a standard feature on the Toyota Prius). We also have cars featuring automatic braking systems and self parking. But the driverless car is a large leap ahead of these driver assistance features.

 

Google Car views

The view from the Google autonomous car cruising down Las Vegas strip,
and an example of how the car 'sees' the road system.

 

In March we were treated to a video of a blind driver “driving” the Google car legally in his home state of California. California may be soon following Nevada’s lead to license the self driving car. California State Senator Alex Padilla offered his thoughts on the topic; “The vast majority of vehicle accidents are due to human error. Through the use of computers, sensors and other systems, an autonomous vehicle is capable of analysing the driving environment more quickly and operating the vehicle more safely.”

If the trials are successful with no major hiccups perhaps this will be the way we all get around in the future, as passengers who can do other more interesting things while our cars drive us to where we need to be.



HEXUS Forums :: 16 Comments

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Obvs a lot fewer driver eejits in Nevada than, say, England ?

(ducks, runs)
lol g8ina

I think round-a-bouts will be significantly more difficult to navigate than simple traffic lights and surprised to here that a round-a-bout exists in Nevada.

As for doing more interesting things in the car… if I'm not looking out the window of the car I get motion sickness so I doubt that will be something I look forward to. Perhaps being able to call your car to come pick you up when you've gone shopping and ended up the other side of town or being able to take you to and pick you up from parties.
Noxvayl
lol g8ina
or being able to take you to and pick you up from parties.

This!
I just think once its proven and approved it will be better for everyone. Police will see a sharp decline in their income from traffic offence fines!
Biscuit
I just think once its proven and approved it will be better for everyone. Police will see a sharp decline in their income from traffic offence fines!
And accidents, drunk driving. The whole road traffic division will have to be shut down.

Bring it on!