From the company that claims to “Do No Evil,” Google has pulled a page from Michael Bay’s Transformers – no, not a mutating Chevrolet Camaro – but more along the lines of creating autonomous vehicles, and have been testing a car that drives itself.
Google has wanted to solve societal problems by using technology, and one problem they see involves cars. With tighter fuel and safety standards in place than ever before in automotive history, Google sees a very viable solution using technology.
And Google has already started.
Southern California has been the main testing location for Google’s driverless car, logging 1,000 unaided driven miles and 140,000 miles with minor human intervention unknowingly amongst the general road-going population, driving from Santa Monica to Hollywood Boulevard, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.
The automated cars used cameras, radar and lasers to detect other vehicles. The maps used by the autonomous cars were manually collected by driving conventional vehicles along the test route. The vehicles always had a trained driver behind the wheel who could quickly take control and a software operator in the passenger seat to monitor the system.
“We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today. 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,” stated Google on its official blog.
This research is still years from any viable implementation into mass produced vehicles, but is just another step in a new technological direction that could very well soon have us driving our very own Bumblebee; sadly without the cool explosions.