Google's self-driving cars leave the test track, ready to hit public roads this summer

By Jos · 7 replies
May 15, 2015
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  1. google

    Google’s self-driving cars are all set to hit public roads this summer as the company moves to the next stage of testing. The prototype cars will begin roving through Mountain View neighborhoods at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour and will incorporate a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal so a human driver can take over if necessary.

    Google says it’s been running its autonomous vehicles through rigorous testing at their test facilities, and ensuring the software and sensors work as they’re supposed to. The prototypes will be running the same software as used by the company’s self-driving Lexus RX450h fleet, which has logged nearly a million autonomous miles on the roads since September of last year, and recently has been self-driving about 10,000 miles a week. That’s equivalent to "75 years of typical American adult driving experience,” the company said in a blog post.

    Aside from uncovering challenges that are unique to a fully self-driving vehicle, like what to do in case of congestion, Google says it’s looking forward to learning how the community perceives and interacts with the vehicles. 

    Going forward the goal is for the vehicles to be completely autonomous with no manual controls whatsoever. That’ still a ways off as the technology gets ready for primetime and legislation as well as public perception is worked out.

    There's already a concern that self-driving cars won't be as safe as they’re made out to be. Last week reports emerged that four of the 48 self-driving vehicles licensed to operate in the state of California have been involved in some accident since September 2014. Google played down the report with some additional context, saying it these were specifically 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during 1.7 million miles of autonomous driving, "and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident."

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  2. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +138

    Question 1: Who wants to move at 25 mph? The only place you drive that fast is in a residential neighborhood or in a parking lot. Everywhere else you drive that fast you're going to get killed or cause someone else to get killed.

    Question 2: If Google has a fleet of self-driving Lexus RX450h vehicles, why in the world did they have to make their self-driving car so ugly?
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,224

    Biggest 'non-news' story of the week. "*Gasp* Are self driving cars safe?!!!" All because someone hit one.

    I seriously hope this technological advance is not hampered by our over-zealous media seeking page clicks. Self driving cars could completely remove drunk-driving, tired driving, distracted driving, etc...And yet our media seems to have their risk tolerance set squarely to ZERO. news flash, newsfolks, cars already aren't safe. The question is are self driving cars MORE safe, and the answer is probably yes.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,311   +1,404

    Self driving cars are without a doubt safer. They'll probably get better fuel economy too because they wont want to go 100mph going from one stop light to the next.
  5. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 355   +72

    I have been rear ended twice, both times I was stopped with the handbrake on. I'm not responsible for some ***** running into me.
  6. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 313   +67

    How does it deal with sudden road constructions or traffic light failure?

    I would assume that the human driver would have to take over.
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    Guess who gets to land the airliner? Not the autopilot, that's for sure.

    And once again the human pilot gets 10.0's across the board, save for the Bulgarian judge, who always marks low.

    As for the rest of you, you seem to be rejoicing the world has shrunk to the size of a smart phone display. "Just think, we won't have to stop texting, or playing some stupid game, to bother driving ourselves anywhere". Who knows, maybe you'll be able to purchase real world self driving cars, directly from "Second Life". At a 200% markup, of course. If all goes "well", maybe you'll be able to tack the turd right onto your data plan.
  8. Badvok

    Badvok TS Addict Posts: 173   +64

    The autopilot can and does land the airliner when allowed to do so by its human overlord. In fact it could probably do the whole flight from take-off to landing if allowed to.
    Falconloft likes this.

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