Autonomous Google Cars Take On City Streets

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EspañolGoogle announced today their driverless cars have begun taking on the streets of California in an effort to master navigation challenges before the technology can be made available to the public. Project director Chris Urmson wrote in an update that they are getting closer to their goal: a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention.

Most automakers have made conservative half steps towards automation, such as technology that brakes and accelerates in slow traffic or that keeps cars in traffic lanes. Google, however, plans to take automation beyond just the freeways, where these cars can already navigate adequately, and into the cities. Out of the 700,000 miles covered by Google’s prototypes, more than 10,000 have been on city streets. Several states have already passed laws allowing the operation of autonomous cars.

Current models, such as a Lexus SUV, still require a human driver to take control if the software fails. The car maps the surrounding area with lasers by means of a small tower mounted on the roof, which future commercial models will hide in the car’s existing shape.

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Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has laid out plans for the self-driving vehicles to be produced as soon as 2017, although analysts predict concerns about safety and precision are likely to postpone a commercial venture beyond that timeframe.

Source: Miami Herald.

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