While we often think of Google as the search giant with a gigantic stake in in the mobile game, they sometimes remind us that they are working on potentially life-changing projects behind the scenes. They’ve posted a video demonstrating their self-driving car in action, putting a man who has lost 95% of his vision behind the wheel, and taking it for a drive.
Google first began the project back in 2010, and says to date it has safely driven over 200,000 miles. Google arranged this particular video and test outside of its typical core research to better demonstrate the technology to the public. They hope to overcome technical and safety challenges given time.
In the video, the car announces when it engages the auto-drive mode. The route is carefully pre-programmed, but the car still has to use all its radars and sensors at stop signs to ensure there are no oncoming vehicles or obstacles. Once behind the wheel, the passenger doesn’t have to interact with the car at all, with all steering, acceleration, and braking handled by the car.
Google isn’t the only company working on the technology. BMW has worked on a similar concept, although it still requires some interaction from the driver, and only engages on certain programmed highways. Like Google’s car, it uses a mix of different lasers, radars, and cameras in order to determine distance between other cars and its position on the road.
[via The Verge]