The Google Driverless Car in Near Future
While Google has enough money to invest in making a driverless car but probably they will only make the software. Something like collaborating with major carmakers or lending the software, as Google did with its Android operating system.
The Google driverless car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for autonomous cars. Google Chauffer is that software that powers Google’s self-driving cars. The project is being led by Google engineer Sebastian Thrun. The former director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View. Thrun’s team at Stanford created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and a $2 million dollars prize from the United States Department of Defense.
The team developing the system consisted of 15 engineers working for Google, including Chris Urmson, Mike Montemerlo, and Anthony Levandowski who had worked on the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges.
Will the Traditional Automakers be Developing Driverless Car?
Meanwhile, traditional automakers are developing a driverless car of their own. Renault and Nissan plan to deliver their first model to the public by 2020.
Google’s robotic cars have about $150,000 in equipment including a $70,000 LIDAR (laser radar) system. The rangefinder mounted on the top is a Velodyne 64-beam laser. Therefore this laser allows the vehicle to generate a detailed 3D map of its environment. And the car then takes these generated maps and combines them with high-resolution maps of the world, producing different types of data models that allow it to drive itself.
Especially Google says their cars have now driven about 700,000 accident-free miles on freeways in “autonomous mode” — with the car in control, though a safety driver sits behind the wheel. That’s the equivalent of about 120 San Francisco-to-Manhattan-to-San Francisco road trips.
In August 2011, a human-controlled Google driverless car was involved in a crash near Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Google has stated that the car was being driven manually at the time of the accident. Also, another accident happened when a driver rear-ended a Google’s driverless car while stopped at a traffic light. Google says that neither of these incidents was the fault of Google’s car but the fault of other humans operating the car.
With that success, Google has been focusing on city driving for about the past year. Freeways are relatively simple for the cars — no blind corners, no cyclists, and no pedestrians. As a result, city streets have all that and more, including intersections and complex interactions with other drivers, such as who goes first at a four-way stop sign.