The Information Age has brought us many incredible tech advancements, and Google has always been at the forefront. Back in 2001, we first saw Google Images, and had access to millions of photos in one place. In 2004 Gmail launched giving us one of the all time greatest email platforms. Fast forward almost a decade to May of 2012 and something unimaginable surfaced.
The Self-Driving Phenomenon
With significant advancements in robotics and algorithmic thinking, Google has successfully done what was previously believed to be impossible. In May of 2012, Google retrofitted a Toyota Prius with self-driving technology and it legally drove itself for the first time in Nevada. In a modern story of sci-fi turned reality, the self-driving car finally exists.
Aspects of Change
Google plans to change the world with this idea. Think of all the ways in which a person currently commutes. The days of bus travel, paying for expensive taxi rides, and even driving yourself will soon be over. Furthermore, safety in all forms of travel will be greatly increased as human error is taken out of the picture.
The safety risks behind text or talking on your phone while driving are a real issue. In a recent study by AT&T, it was discovered that on average 70% of drivers regularly use their smartphones while operating a vehicle. The world is addicted to their phones, but once driving yourself becomes obsolete, this will be acceptable and safe. One could even start working remotely while being chauffeured autonomously.
The Science Behind Self-Driving Tech
Google stated that it expects to commercialize their groundbreaking line of automobiles soon; mainstream public use is expected to start between 2017 and 2020. A main concern for most people when introduced with the idea of automated travel is safety. Are these cars actually consistently safe? Short answer: yes, definitely!
Google X, the special team behind the driverless car uses intricate algorithms and in-depth Google Maps technology to keep passengers safe. Recently, a Google customized Audi Q5 SUV completed a legendary 3400 mile solo road trip from coast to coast. The driverless Audi made 99% of the trip on its own, with a remote driver only taking over for a particularly confusing 50 mile stretch of roadway.
Explanation of Google’s electric driverless car via 9to5 Google
The driverless car by Google is a technological wonder. It uses radars and other sensors that are strategically placed on the front and back, as well as near the wheels. The driverless car features a rotating radar on the top, known as a Lidar (light detection and ranging). Lidars analyze pulses of light, which helps the car identify lane markings and the edges of roadways.
All self-driving cars use cameras in the front and rear. These are crucially important and look for street lights to change, identify traffic patterns and variables, and help share the road, keeping cyclists in mind.
Even the construction of the car’s body itself was created to allow for zero sensor ‘blind spots’. The rounded shape gives the car a near 360 degree view of its surroundings. As far as the interior goes, it is designed solely for passengers, and is spacious and comfortable for a two seat automobile.
Ironically enough, the biggest limitations for Google’s autonomous vehicles are human drivers! Of the few accidents accounted for in Google’s monthly self-driving report, the vast majority have been due to uncontrollable, outside factors: mainly other careless drivers.
The Famous Self-Driving Models
Three of Google’s driverless cars stand out as face of this unique travel concept. The Mercedes F 015 being the most notable and futuristic looking.
The Mercedes F 015, check out this video for a more in depth view.
Google’s 2014 self-driving prototype
The driverless Lexus RX 450h
For some additional information on this new technological wonder, check out another article I wrote about self-driving cars.
Featured photo credit: Self-driving car on the road / Google via google.com