Google’s Robot Cars Project – Look Ma, No Hands

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Oct 10 2010
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Google’s Artificial Intelligence software may be the future solution enabling us to travel from point-A to point-B without us having to actually drive it. The Toyota Prius and Audi TT were used in a Google’s secret project of which seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control.

With more than 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2008 alone, it was hope that the Robot drivers which react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated could save more lives. Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG, stock) engineers added the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together, not to mention lighter car thus reducing fuel consumption because robot cars are less likely to crash.

The car can be programmed for different driving personalities – from cautious, in which it is more likely to give-way to another car, to aggressive, where it is more likely to overtake. If you’re behind the wheel and would like to gain control of the car you just have to hit a red button near his right hand, touch the brake or turn the steering wheel.

Google Robot Car Project 

Such project may be years or decades away from become reality (mass production) and the return on technology investment may be a question-mark but considering the huge cash Google has, the company can afford for the project to fail. Just like Android smart phone system, Google can profit from such project by selling or even giving away the navigation system to automobile makers.

However problems such as the robot drivers actually drive the car right through school zone while the human behind the wheel was not paying attention, liability claims in the event of an accident and other legal issues may delay the system from going to the market. Anyway it’s great that Google’s Larry Page who was behind this project was creative and generous enough to fund such an innovative project, never mind that such project is miles away from its core business.

Is it a great fit to have Google Map, Google TV, Android system and of course the Search engine powering the car’s dashboard? Absolutely!

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