Google driverless car has finally got Nevada’s approval. But many wonder if we should trust robots by entrusting them with driving us around the town. Watch the video
Google’s self-driving car has been in the news for a while. As of now, the driverless car has got license from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to run on public streets. It is for the first time a self-driving car is allowed to get into the streets. But the autonomous car is given the license on condition that at least two persons will sit inside the vehicle while moving on roads. One person should sit behind the steering as in the case of regular cars and another one should sit in the passenger’s seat to monitor the computer driven car’s movements. This condition is meant to ensure the safety. The persons can manually bring the car in control in the wake of any emergency.
Nevertheless, many people are concerned about the safety of the driverless car from Google. Attorney of the California Department of Motor Vehicles recently said that the technology was in front of the law in some areas. What he meant is that the self-driving cars like the one from Google are against the state laws, which “presume to have a human being operating the vehicle.” Yes, as per the country’s current vehicular rules, cars should have a driver inside to drive them. But Google’s driverless car breaks the rules as it has received the green signal from the Nevada authority.
Is Google’s driverless car safe?
Google engineers have been working for sometimes to develop the self-driving car. The company engineer Sebastian Thrun, who is also the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, is the brain behind the coveted project. Sebastian Thrun, also the co-inventor of Google Street View, has made use of advanced technologies to build the car. He was assisted by 15 other Google engineers including Chris Urmson, Anthony Levandowski and Mike Montemerlo for the project.
Of course, the car combines information collected from Google Street View with artificial intelligence software to move on roads. Video cameras inside the vehicle, radar sensors on the front, an advanced LIDAR sensor on the top and a position sensor on one of the rear wheels are the major components of the car. Indeed, the sophisticated technologies make the car a highly safe and reliable autonomous car for public roads. While approving it, the Nevada motors vehicles department stated that the car is safer, perhaps far safer than a car with a human driver.
After initial development, Google has tested many cars built with the system. Google’s official promo of the system shows a Toyota Prius being ‘driven’ by a blind person. Well, the ‘driver’ looks around, eats his breakfast and waves hands to the onlookers while the car is on move on congested highways. As of 2010, the Mountain View web giant tested its driverless car with 1,609 kilometers without any human intervention and another 225,308 kilometers with infrequent human intervention. Still now, the company works to develop the car to bring down any chance for accidents and clashes.
Google hasn’t built up a car as a self-driving vehicle. It is just a regular car modified with the technique. The company’s test fleet includes at least eight cars that include six Toyota Prius, a Lexus RX450h and an Audi TT. Each model was tested using professional drivers and Google engineers. The company ensures complete security for the passengers and safety for the vehicles and pedestrians on the road with its innovative self-driving cars.
Most critics point out to an accident a Google self-driving car got involved in August 2011. A Toyota Prius with the Google’s technology hit another Toyota Prius in front of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View. In the fender bender, almost three cars got some damages. But later Google stated that the self-driving Prius was not in a self-driving mode on the occasion of the accident. Anyway, Google has no instant plan to launch the driverless cars commercially. Maybe, in some years, we can share our roads with Google cars that will be driven by machines.