From the beginning Google has always focused on the technologies which have wider impact on community and people can benefit out of that at large-scale, be it Gmail, Google Earth, Google Goggles or Self driven Cars. Yes, you read write. Today, Google announced that it has developed cars that drive themselves automatically in traffic and company has been testing them on the streets of California for months. It may sound strange for you; being a technology company what is there for Google in Cars? Probably you can think of Google Car OS, or Google has developed an extended hand of Android which can control Cars. Trust, There is nothing like that.
The vehicles have been tested on 140,000 miles of California road, from Silicon Valley to Santa Monica. Each car is manned during the tests. One person sits in the driver’s seat, ready to take control of the vehicle instantly by grabbing the wheel or touch the brake should something go wrong with the system. The person in the passenger’s seat is an engineer who monitors the software operations on a computer.
To make the project flawless and success, Google hired engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government. Chris Urmson was the technical team leader of the CMU team that won the 2007 Urban Challenge.
Is it really safe to travel in such cars? Google explains this a matter beyond the safety and usage. Company claims that besides the safety there are many aspects in this project which have been taken care commendably. Google projects computers (who actually control Google cars) better drivers than human in right circumstances and that way people will be more secure inside such cars than self driven.
Bigger Impact of Google Cars
But Google has focused on bigger impact of such technology driven cars on society. Company feels that Car should have come later than computers and computers should drive the machine not the human. That way, the biggest challenge today for any country is the daily commute with growing popularity. People are becoming more time conscious as challenges in daily life is increasing be it personal or professional. People need to be more productive or entertained in the vehicle, doing work on a wireless Internet connection or watching television.
However, such cars are still far from the roads due to legal hassles; all country’s law assumes and mandate a human driver inside the car. Interaction and accountability on machine is a bigger challenge from the legal point of view. Countries who probably will adopt such technology need to go through major revamp in their traffic laws and system.
Google Car Video
Here are few videos, which are claimed to be Google Technology Cars, posted by some of the people who got a chance to be a witness of the Car performance on roads when Car was getting tested time to time. Enjoy.
Video Credit: Scobleizer