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Monday, October 11, 2010
Google Testing Self-driving Cars

Google has developed a car that drives itself, which would take the controls out of the hands of distracted drivers.

The automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to "see" other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google?s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by Google's cars when mapping their terrain.

The automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from Google's Mountain View campus to the company's Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. All in all, the cars have logged over 140,000 miles, Google said.

Google's goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people?s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use, the compayn said.

To develop this technology, Google gathered some of the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government.

"We?ve always been optimistic about technology?s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today" google said. While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science.

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