In the summer of 2012, the California state government approved a bill that allowed driverless cars on the roadways in California. This opened the door for firms like Google working in the autonomous car industry to begin testing cars on public streets. Before the cars could come to the public, a myriad of rules needed to be created and enforced.
Automated driverless cars have been a popular topic for some months now, brought to the forefront of public attention by Google's efforts to develop such vehicles. One would be tempted to believe - science fiction stories and movies aside - that such ambitions are a new reality, the result of our ever-expanding technologies that allow us to pursue this seemingly futuristic mode of transportation. Under such an assumption, the reality is surprising - in the early 1990s, Congress passed a bill devoting $650,000 towards developing technologies for driverless vehicles, a project undertaken by a consortium composed of nine organizations. In fact, one "driverless" vehicle was demonstrated on California's Interstate 15 for over 7 miles in 1997, and we have a video of it after the jump.
Some of the companies really pushing driverless cars can be found in California, including Google. Google is one of the biggest supporters of driverless cars and has a fleet of vehicles that have racked up over 300,000 accident-free miles while driving themselves. The state of Nevada already allows driverless cars to operate on its roadways.
Google sure does love its self driving cars, and a new bill has passed the State Senate in California that will set standards for safety and performance for the vehicles. Now that the bill has passed through the State Senate, it’s heading to the Assembly. There’s no firm timeline for when it will pass, but it should be within the next month.
Google's self-driving cars are making headlines again, now that they've expanded testing from California into Nevada. Competitors are hot on their tail, but currently Google seems to have an undisputed spot on top of autonomous vehicular design. So how do they do it? With a combination of some incredible software and hardware engineering, using processes developed by both Google and the best and brightest of DARPA's robotic race challenges.
Google's driverless cars being let loose onto the roads of Nevada has re-awakened concerns around robot vehicle security, with experts unconvinced that the increasingly complex kit is safe from malware. Fears around the future vulnerabilities of cars left to guide themselves, though perhaps not of significant concern today in Google's small-scale trial, nonetheless persist given the likelihood of commercial implementations of self-driving hardware, with researchers pointing to a mixed track record in locking down infotainment and other systems in "dumb" cars to-date.
Google gets a lot of digital ink for its driverless car program, which recently got the go-ahead to expand its testing to Nevada highways. But Mountain View isn't the only horse in this race. New start-ups and old standbys are preparing the cars of the future, and they all want a piece of the driverless car market. Here are five competitors to Google's program, all trying to be king of the road.
Google's driverless cars may have got the green light to roam the roads of Nevada under their own direction, but don't think you'll be able to summon your robot chauffeur to pick you up from afar. Although Nevada has allowed the autonomous Prius fleet to pilot themselves, they're only allowed to do so if two people are in the car at all times: one of whom must be behind the wheel to seize it in the case of an emergency.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but when it's over it would sure be nice to have a designated driver built into your car. Thanks to Google's driverless car program, you might soon be able to have just that. After three months in safety testing and approval, not to mention considerable legal hurdles, Google's self-driving cars have been approved for driving anywhere in the great state of Nevada. Google's driverless car program has already logged 250,000 miles.
There are some real live Cadillac-made semi-automatic "driverless" cars being tested this week using technology they call "Super Cruise." This mode of driving allows for fully automatic steering, lane-centering, and braking in highway driving conditions - but they've got to be optimal or it does not work. Detroit's test runs this week are said by Cadillac to possibly be ready for real-world use by the middle of the decade - we're looking at a boss here, folks, no hands!