The Self Driving Phenomenon – Google Car
We live in strange times, you can order food, pay for it and even tip the waiter without even an ounce of human interaction involved in the entire process, but the long awaited dream of a driverless car still evades us. But not for long. The Self Driving Phenomenon is here.
As long as humans are behind the wheels, we’ll always be susceptible to dangers arising out of negligence either on part of the driver or any other substance in the near proximity. After an accident or any other driving related calamity, it doesn’t exactly matter who’s fault is it, the important question to ask is, how can it be avoided? The answer has never been simpler.
Google has thoroughly mapped countless miles in its driverless cars and done preliminary mapping in unnamed cities throughout the United States of America. Recently Google has been logging thousands of miles on the streets of its hometown of Mountain View, California. A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area.
The software used by Google to power its driverless cars has improved to an extent that it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously including buses, people and even a stop sign held up by a traffic policeman. The surreal truth about this is that a self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t.
What looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer. Such type of technological advancements are unprecedented in human nature. The software has improved over the years through countless encounters with different situations. Software models are built around what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it). There are still a lot of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped the driverless cars two years ago can now be navigated autonomously.
How long do you think it would take for all of us to embrace this technology in our daily commute? What do you see as the future here?