Did you ever see one of the Google street view cars? Was it driving itself?
We’re sure you would have done a double take if you saw a Toyota Prius with a funnel-like cylinder on the roof. This car is a project of Google – it’s been under wraps, yet at the same time in plain view. These vehicles can drive themselves by using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.
The seven test cars always had someone behind the wheel to take control if something went wrong, as well as technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system. They drove 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. The only accident occurred when a Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.
Engineers behind the cars believe these vehicles are much safer than those driven by humans. Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated. They also state that this technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. And since the robot cars would be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption.
Unfortunately, these cars won’t be making their way into a dealership anytime soon, but it does provide the next step in the next generation of super smart cars.
It also might just mean that Google is sucking the fun out of driving.