Google paves the way for self-driving cars

Search-giant Google has revealed it is working on self-driving road cars and that it has actually achieved a fair degree of success with its fleet of seven vehicles

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Google paves the way for self-driving cars Google has turned Audi's two door TT and six Toyota Prius road cars into self-driving vehicles
By  Clayton Vallabhan Published  October 12, 2010

Google has announced that it has been working on self-driving cars and has achieved successful results during testing.

Seven cars have been fitted with video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder for some time now and have been ferrying drivers around for a while.

Google's Sebastian Thrun who holds the title of "Distinguished Software Engineer" at the firm wrote on the official Google blog, "They've driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe.  All-in-all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000miles."

These cars are absolutely legal because a person is still required to sit in the driver's seat to take over should the need arise. They are regular cars and not custom-built, the fleet consists of six Toyota Prius sedan cars and one two-door Audi TT. The only accident that occurred was when a human driver rear ended a test vehicle at a traffic light.

Google reckons that self-driving cars will reduce energy consumption if inefficient driving styles are eradicated. It also feels that the prototypes present a glimpse into the future of driving and that fewer accidents would result by the use of this technology. The company also says that people could take their eyes off the road and make better use of the time spent during their road trips.

Some of Google's shareholders and analysts feel that the company is branching into an area of research that they are unfamiliar with, and has no profit in sight.

While Google hasn't gone into much detail about how the technology actually works, Windows Middle East believes it could eventually be adapted to function with data from Google Maps and GPS, so that vehicles can reach destinations on their own.

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