Google’s Self-Driving Cars are Already on Public Roads
There was a time when the concept of self-driving cars was best left to the imagination of science fiction writers and filmmakers. Then, a few years ago, Google X, the research wing of Google, started developing self-driving cars. From today, Google will start testing the prototype self-driving cars on the public roads of California following the company’s announcement last month.
Developed by Google X, these self driving cars run on LIDAR, a radar system which uses 64 laser beams to detect its surroundings. The cars are aided by the data on Google Maps, which allows them to calculate the route between any two points of journey. Google previously used a fleet of 23 Lexus RX450h SUVs on public roads to test the program before it began developing its own cars. The cars will employ the same software used in the Lexus SUVs, and will drive at a neighbourhood-friendly speed of 40 kmph.
Things will be a bit different this time though. Earlier, Google tested the Lexus SUVs on public roads without any drivers. There will be a qualified driver aboard the new prototype car who will take over manually if the car gets in trouble. A few weeks back, Google released a report detailing all the accidents self-driving cars were involved in. The company asserted that the accident were minor ones and there was no fault of the car.
The company has also launched a website which will allow people to share their experiences with the car. The previous fleet has traveled almost a million miles on the road, which the company says is “equivalent of about 75 years of typical American adult driving experience”.