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New Technology | Google Self-Driving Car Subject of Talk

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Posted February 5, 2014 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Technology ~ 2,007 views

     

By Carol Graham — The Google Driverless Car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for driverless cars. The project is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View.

It’s not difficult to imagine what people thought a century ago: “It doesn’t make sense. It won’t work. There are too many challenges. It will never catch on.” Yet while Victorians were known to be intensely curious about and enthralled with new inventions, many were hesitant to embrace an incomprehensible thing called a horseless carriage. It was an amusing contraption, to be sure, but it just did not make any sense – to most people. It did not work – well. There were far too many obstacles – it terrified horses and quickly outstripped laws. It would never catch on – until it did.

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More than a century later, here we go again.

Google self-driving cars use software called Google Chauffeur. Development is currently being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View. Thrun’s team, including Software Lead Montemerlo, created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge – a $2 million prize competition for American non-driver vehicles funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the most prominent research organization of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Montemerlo is a Software Engineer who received his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Electrical/Computer Engineering, followed by a Ph.D. in Robotics from Philadelphia’s Carnegie Mellon University, the global research university recognized for its world-class technology programs.

As of 2013, four U.S. states have passed laws permitting autonomous cars: Nevada, Florida, California, and Michigan. These cars are never unmanned; a trained safety driver sits behind the wheel ready to take over as easily as one engages cruise control, while a trained software operator rides in the passenger seat.

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The team announced its cars had completed more than 300,000 autonomous-driving miles, accident free in August 2012. (Two driverless car incidents have been reported : one car was rear-ended at a stoplight, and a second accident occurred while a car was being manually operated.) Driverless cars have traversed San Francisco’s famously-crooked Lombard Street, travelled across the Golden Gate Bridge and driven around Lake Tahoe.

Fully autonomous vehicles are expected to be commercially viable as early as 2020. Technologists who have long dreamed of them believe that they can transform society as profoundly as the Internet has. Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated thereby reducing automobile deaths and injuries. Engineers claim the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because these vehicles would be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption.

Yet challenges also exist. Laws need to catch up to technological advances. In the event of an accident, who would be liable — the person behind the wheel or the maker of the software? And to be truly safe, autonomous cars must be more reliable than computers which do occasionally crash and can be infected.

Source — Google and agencies


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

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