We’ve all discussed how great it would be if cars could actually drive themselves. The benefits would be tremendous! No more DUIs, a reduction in user-generated accidents, and a lot more free time for car riders to get some work done for the upcoming sales presentation. Well if Google’s plans continue to unravel, we may actually see our cars drive themselves- in our lifetime!
According to an article on AllCarTech.com Google has been hard at work in researching and lobbying for an autonomous car highway in Nevada.
The Google Driverless Car Project is well underway. Using a combination of radar, Google Street View information, position estimation software and video cameras, Google has created a car that can drive itself. The autonomous driving system has already undergone numerous tests.
In one test the car was able to drive 1,000 miles without any human intervention whatsoever. In another test, the car was able to travel 140,000 miles with occasional human intervention. In all of these studies there has been only 1 recorded accident and that was a situation where the Google test car was rear-ended by a human driver.
Cars equipped with the driverless system have driven all over the west coast and the testing has been conducted both on and off highways. Speed limits are followed based on the speed limit recorded in Google Street View and distance from other cars is kept by using a combination of location sensing software and video cameras.
Currently, the project is trying to combat possible legal hold-ups. Google has hired a lobbyist to lobby for legal operation of driverless cars on Nevada roads. It is expected that the bills regarding automated cars in Nevada will be voted on in June, 2011.
According to a post on CarAdvice.com.au the proposed legislation consists of two bills. The first bill will allow for more development and testing of autonomous cars in Nevada and the second bill attempts to make exceptions to the current “no texting while driving” laws in Nevada.
The commercial outlook for driverless cars is obviously still 2-6 years down the road but Google is making a lot of headway and I think we can all look forward to a future of easier commutes and less stressful road trips.
If you’re interested in alternative types of transportation you may want to watch the video on the first commercial jetpack that will be sold publicly at some point in 2012.