Google tweaks self-driving car to tackle busy city streets

By on April 28, 2014, 1:00 PM

With projects like Glass consuming headlines as of late, you’d be forgiven for forgetting about another ambitious project that Google is working on. The search giant on Monday provided an update on its autonomous driving project and by all accounts, things are coming along swimmingly.

In a blog post on the matter, Google acknowledges that highway driving is relatively tame compared to life on the streets of a busy city like Mountain View. And it’s here that the development team has been focusing their efforts lately in an attempt to master city street driving.

As you likely know, there are hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules in a small area. Things like buses, pedestrians, cyclists making gestures or a stop sign held up by a crossing guard all present unique challenges for a self-driving vehicle. But in the same respect, an autonomous car can pay attention to all of these things in a way a human physically can’t and they never get tired or distracted.

As such, Google’s self-driving car team has been tweaking their software and building models of what to expect in city driving. Through more than 700,000 autonomous miles, the team has come a long way but there’s still a lot more work to go. Even still, they’re growing more optimistic that self-driving cars will be able to fully operate without human intervention some day.

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