Driverless Cars: Volvo and Google at the start of a new era

May 09 2014, 14:46 IST
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Take a look at Google and Volvo’s self-driving cars! Take a look at Google and Volvo’s self-driving cars!
SummaryTake a look at Google and Volvo’s self-driving cars!

Even Nevada State of US had passed a law three years back in 2011 which ultimately came into effect in March 2012. The law permitted the operation of such autonomous cars on the streets. Other testing areas include Florida followed by California. Toyota Prius with Google experimental system was the first car to get license from Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Google has been testing these cars for quite a while now and we can see dozens of cars plying on the streets of California and Nevada. These robotic cars have crossed over 700,000 accident free miles or without any untoward incidents. For more safety and security of the pedestrians and avoiding accidents, Google has now updated these cars with some imposing software improvements and the software driving the cars has been named ‘Google Chauffeur’. These cars can now keep track of hundreds of objects on the road simultaneously, traffic start/stop signs, roads signs, and recently even included feature that could deal with the cyclists smartly.

For testing Google sends its employees to ride on the car and accumulate data based on anomalous road conditions. Google has also taught its robotic cars to tackle railway crossing, large stationary objects and lowering the speed in anticipation if in case it faces cyclist who uses hand signal. These autonomous cars have been outfitted with equipments worth US$150,000. The real-time LIDAR technology and the 360-degree cameras act as a computer vision to monitor every single driving condition. This project is still going under heavy testing as there are thousands of situations that occur while driving the car which need to be handled before official launch from Google.

So, there is a long time before these next generations automated vehicles would be commercialized. The electric cars on the other hand have now become completely eligible to enter into the mainstream while autonomous cars would still take a while before they can be used widely for public and private transportation.

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