Google clocks up its millionth autonomous driving mile

  • TECH
  • Saturday, 06 Jun 2015

LANDMARK ACHIEVEMENT: Google's autonomous cars have now driven more than one million miles in full autonomous mode.

Google has hit a significant milestone. Its self-driving cars have now covered over one million fully autonomous miles. "Along the way, we've navigated more than 200,000 stop signs, 600,000 traffic lights, and seen 180 million vehicles-with several thousand traffic cones, some fluttering plastic shopping bags, and a rogue duck thrown in for good measure," said Google's co-founder Sergey Brin of the achievement.

Google only started grappling with the problems involved with self-driving vehicles in 2009, but has already officially covered more autonomous test miles than any single car manufacturer. All of which is making the company very positive and confident in its belief that the self-driving car is going to become a reality on real-world roads very shortly.

"We're taking this million mile milestone as further proof that fully self-driving vehicles will become a reality, and we're looking forward to finding out where the next million miles will take us," said Brin.

Last month Google announced it had covered over 1.7 million miles in total driving with its specially adapted fleet of Toyotas and Lexus cars -- which start out life as regular cars before being retrofitted with sensors and cameras -- not by the battery powered pod prototypes that it hopes to one day put into production. What's more, the overwhelming majority of the testing has taken place on freeways, rather than inner-city roads where driving conditions are much more unpredictable and the risks of an accident greater.

During its shareholder meeting, Google admitted that its cars had been involved in 12 accidents to date, the most recent occurring at the end of May. However, according to Brin, the Google car has never been at fault and the company's aim wasn't perfection but a car that was better than driving than a human.

Autonomous driving experts note that despite Google's achievements thus far, there are still significant challenges to overcome, such as traveling on routes which have not been mapped or taking different types of action when faced with different types of obstacle.

During a TED talk in March, Chris Urmson, Google's project's leader, revealed that the cars have encountered a child in the road driving a toy car and a woman in an electric wheelchair chasing a duck, but that in both situations the car slowed down to avoid an accident.

The auto industry has been developing autonomous driving technology for a number of years and has elected to add features to production cars over time so that they become increasingly autonomous. The next layers will include remote controlled parking and gear changes preselected by GPS based on the road conditions ahead.

However, Urmson disagrees with this approach, comparing it to eventually being able to fly by getting better and better at jumping.

Instead, Google plans to start testing its cars on the streets of Manhattan this year as part of a steeper learning curve and, according to Urmson, the company is still convinced that it can deliver a truly autonomous car by the end of the decade. — AFP Relaxnews
Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Next In Tech News

Ubisoft invests in free-to-play games, signals profits might fall
YouTube to launch $100 million creator fund for Shorts video feature
EBay taps into NFT frenzy, allows sale on platform
Tech selloff in focus as Nasdaq backs further away from record highs
Samsung sees pandemic-led appliances boom extending run to rest of year
German regulator bans Facebook from processing WhatsApp user data
CME says more than 100,000 micro bitcoin futures traded in first six days
Gig-economy riders in Spain must become staff within 90 days under new rule
Palantir allows payments in bitcoin, mulls investing in cryptocurrencies
Hackers find easy prey as US ignores one warning after another

Stories You'll Enjoy