Google has been letting its self-driving cars off their leash again this week, bringing the driverless vehicles to TED 2011 and allowing attendees of the conference to ride in them. Limiting its demos to a nearby parking lot, Search Engine Land reports, Google had tweaked the cars to show far more aggressive driving than previously seen.
Rather than the automated route creation usually relied upon when the driverless cars are on highways – fathomed using road-recognition cameras, GPS, various other sensors and a general destination in mind – in the parking lot the route was pre-determined. As normal, Google uses a safety driver, who can take over in case of issues with the robocar system.
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Google’s intention with the project is to address road safety, with intelligent cars that can potentially halve traffic accidents. Meanwhile, they could also be more environmentally-friendly, driving more efficiently and forming “highway trains” of closely-spaced vehicles.