Driverless Cars are Getting Smarter

*Article courtesy Israel Homeland Security

help times; font-size: 16px;”>Google’s quest to build and deploy cars that drive themselves has been going well. On Monday, link Chris Urmson, dosage director of Google’s self-driving car project, said the company’s autonomous vehicles have logged more than 700,000 miles.

Google driverless Lexus RX-450 (Wikimedia Commons)

Google driverless Lexus RX-450 (Wikimedia Commons)

 

“With every passing mile we’re growing more optimistic that we’re heading toward an achievable goal — a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention,” Urmson said in a blog post.

According to Information Week since its last progress report on the project in August 2012, Google has improved the software that controls its cars to enable the detection of hundreds of distinct objects at once. Urmson says Google’s technology can track pedestrians, road signs, cyclists, and a variety of other objects and entities without human liabilities like fatigue or distraction.

The chaos of a city street is fairly predictable to a computer, said Urmson; Google has trained its software by driving thousands of miles on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., where the company is based. Google has built software models for a wide variety of scenarios, from cars stopping at red lights to cars ignoring stoplights, he said. Thousands of situations that would have stumped Google’s cars two years ago — such as the unexpected placement of orange construction cones in a road – can now be navigated without human aid.

To teach its computers to drive, Google sends employees out to ride with its cars and document anomalous conditions. These scenarios are presented to engineers who then have to implement an appropriate response. Beyond creating algorithms to navigate through areas with road work, Google’s cars now slow down when approaching large objects, like a truck parked on a road’s shoulder.

Google has also trained its cars to handle railroad crossings, where last year there were 2,087 train-vehicle collisions, 251 fatalities, and 929 injuries, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. When its autonomous vehicles detect train tracks and crossing signs, Google’s software waits to make sure the tracks are clear of other vehicles before driving across, to eliminate the chance of being caught behind another car and waiting there as a train approaches.

Hat Tip: Please visit their informative site: iHLSIsrael Homeland Security

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