Google's self-driving cars now able to navigate crowded city streets

Google's self-driving cars are getting smarter. After logging nearly 700,000 miles without a driver, the autonomous cars are capable of reacting to a multitude of scenarios unique to city driving. The company released a video which shows one of the cars driving through Mountain View, California, home of Google's global headquarters. The autonomous car was able to safely navigate a parked car protruding into its lane, avoid a biker weaving in and out of the bike lane, and approach railroad crossings with prudent caution.

Google discussed how they tackled the complexity of city driving in a blog post:

As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer. As we've encountered thousands of different situations, we've built software models of what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it).

Despite their cars' excellent track record, Google admits there is still a lot of progress to be made. For example, the variances in city planning mean the Self-Driving Project crew have to teach the cars to navigate each city; they are still working on Mountain View. However, the advances showcased in the video represent massive strides in self-driving car technology.

Source: Google | Image via Google

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I'm definitely excited for this because its an advancement of technology, but anyone actually WANTING to drive a car? I love driving cars, and would love to go into racing. I've never crashed a vehicle and am a damn great driver even considereding I have an N sign. Yes I admit experience is key in driving, but really? You guys would rather not drive? The only time I would agree with you guys (my fellow neowinians) is if I was drunk, in traffic, or dead tired.

suprNOVA said,
I'm definitely excited for this because its an advancement of technology, but anyone actually WANTING to drive a car? I love driving cars, and would love to go into racing. I've never crashed a vehicle and am a damn great driver even considereding I have an N sign. Yes I admit experience is key in driving, but really? You guys would rather not drive? The only time I would agree with you guys (my fellow neowinians) is if I was drunk, in traffic, or dead tired.

You've barely got a year (maybe 2) of driving, you haven't had the opportunity to experience what it's like to have to drive home after a sporting event, sit in extremely busy traffic for hours because of an accident and repeatedly recurring on that process. Eventually the rush of driving and the fun associated with it, becomes boring and something you want to avoid.

I loved it when I had my Novice License, driving alone? FANTASTIC! But now, several years later; I'm more than happy to let someone driving me somewhere, let's me not have to be focused 100% of the time.

I'm pretty sure the traffic rules still applies in case of accident. If it's the cars fault even with no driver, it will be Google's fault.

Any other scenario is facebook fault. Because they have automatic walking pedestrians everywhere already.

puma1 said,
If one of these cars hits something, or someone.. who is responsible?

More than likely, the other person. It's incredibly unlikely that the self-driving car would be at fault.

I don't think that is realistic. Sometimes a car accident is not a person's fault, but they are a victim of a series of events that make it their fault.
I don't think a blameless self driving car is a realistic scenario.

puma1 said,
I don't think that is realistic. Sometimes a car accident is not a person's fault, but they are a victim of a series of events that make it their fault.
I don't think a blameless self driving car is a realistic scenario.

Not universally blameless, but at least an order of magnitude less likely. Distracted driving is the biggest culprit, and a self-driving car would be faster and more accurate than even the best and most alert driver.

One argument that will drop these from mass production like flys..

If the car does cause an accident and someone gets hurt who is at fault :p?

Who does the insurance pay out to or even do they pay out at all its the driver insured to drive the car not the car to drive its self.

If the car is driving its self and becomes unable to manually control then crash's and hurts someone then is it the garage at fault for not making correct checks or the driver for not knowing it could fail. Again who is at fault.

Vester said,
One argument that will drop these from mass production like flys..

If the car does cause an accident and someone gets hurt who is at fault :p?

Who does the insurance pay out to or even do they pay out at all its the driver insured to drive the car not the car to drive its self.

If the car is driving its self and becomes unable to manually control then crash's and hurts someone then is it the garage at fault for not making correct checks or the driver for not knowing it could fail. Again who is at fault.

Simple, it's you; just because the car is a self driving car doesn't mean that you aren't the driver. This isn't a Johnny Cab (Total Recall pun)!

Praetor said,

Simple, it's you; just because the car is a self driving car doesn't mean that you aren't the driver. This isn't a Johnny Cab (Total Recall pun)!


So are you saying that if you are riding in a self driving car, you still need to be driving the car? (As in sitting in the driver seat, watching the road, keeping your hands on the wheel, etc, like you would if you had control)

If insurance companies said that whoever owns the care is liable for any accidents, that would certainly make some think twice about turning it over to a computer, even if it was held up as a 'perfect' system.

trooper11 said,


So are you saying that if you are riding in a self driving car, you still need to be driving the car? (As in sitting in the driver seat, watching the road, keeping your hands on the wheel, etc, like you would if you had control)

If insurance companies said that whoever owns the care is liable for any accidents, that would certainly make some think twice about turning it over to a computer, even if it was held up as a 'perfect' system.

You might only be able to get insurance for the car driving itself on pre-approved routes.

yes, i very much doubt any law changing in the near future; until then even if your car is KITT you are still required to be ready to drive it, not taking naps lol

And you are the sole responsible, as the driver. Self driving cars can provide better transit workflow, less accidents and better mileage so there's a heck lot of advantages.

Praetor said,
yes, i very much doubt any law changing in the near future; until then even if your car is KITT you are still required to be ready to drive it, not taking naps lol

And you are the sole responsible, as the driver. Self driving cars can provide better transit workflow, less accidents and better mileage so there's a heck lot of advantages.

I agree on your comment on the advantages but not about the driving part. I dont think insurance is settled on that yet. Because if my car is driving itself I am not driving it. Its impossible to know if my car wont stop and hit the car in front of me when it didnt do it in the past 100% right. I wasnt driving, the computer from Google was.

Likely, I think, insurance for these cars might be taken up by the car manufactures or by the company that makes the device as it will be proven, safer, and more efficient so insurance costs will be super cheap. Or the owner of the vehicle will need some different form of insurance.

But its an interesting time nonetheless =).

Scabrat said,

I agree on your comment on the advantages but not about the driving part. I dont think insurance is settled on that yet. Because if my car is driving itself I am not driving it. Its impossible to know if my car wont stop and hit the car in front of me when it didnt do it in the past 100% right. I wasnt driving, the computer from Google was.

Likely, I think, insurance for these cars might be taken up by the car manufactures or by the company that makes the device as it will be proven, safer, and more efficient so insurance costs will be super cheap. Or the owner of the vehicle will need some different form of insurance.

But its an interesting time nonetheless =).

If your car, without a driver (like with no brakes for example), crashes into another car, who's fault? The car owner, since it doesn't have a driver. Sure, insurances are going to incorporate this situations where a driverless car has an accident, but i doubt it's the car brand or system (google) at fault.

I can use the train analogy; if a train as an accident because the train driver went MIA then its not the passengers fault but the owner of the train (the train company). The problem here is that you are thinking you are the passenger (like the train analogy), while in fact you are not only that but the car owner.

Praetor said,

If your car, without a driver (like with no brakes for example), crashes into another car, who's fault? The car owner, since it doesn't have a driver. Sure, insurances are going to incorporate this situations where a driverless car has an accident, but i doubt it's the car brand or system (google) at fault.

I can use the train analogy; if a train as an accident because the train driver went MIA then its not the passengers fault but the owner of the train (the train company). The problem here is that you are thinking you are the passenger (like the train analogy), while in fact you are not only that but the car owner.

Right. But what I am saying is insurance will look different with these things. It will be cheaper for one (or should be). But to say for certain on anything about these self-driving cars and what insurance will look like or who is at fault is all hearsay as nothing is settled in law or in the courts. What if the unit I had was malfunctioning or didnt operate as promised. What if the car manufacturer hooked it up wrong or they didnt know a sensor they have wasnt compatible with the self-driving device? We dont know anything about it yet much less who is liable for it if the car I own hits another car.

But it doesnt matter to me right now. It will get worked out =).

Scabrat said,

snipped

those same examples are true to this day, just check out Toyota. But those are the minority of accidents; the vast majority are human error, not machine error.

Praetor said,

those same examples are true to this day, just check out Toyota. But those are the minority of accidents; the vast majority are human error, not machine error.

True. But when self driving cars start to become the norm most accidents will be, seemingly, machine error. And that can cause uncertainty with liability =).

yep, it can be but then again pedestrians, non motor vehicles and even unexpected incidents / natural disasters (like hurricanes, snow or falling trees into the road) still will happen.

Praetor said,
yep, it can be but then again pedestrians, non motor vehicles and even unexpected incidents / natural disasters (like hurricanes, snow or falling trees into the road) still will happen.

True =). Fair point.

I guess the texting while driving class will be in pure bliss. Hmm drinking and riding too? Here in Florida USA they can still hit you with an open container charge. Man, I see about 14,000,000 pages of new DOT legislation in the works.

xrobwx said,
Here in Florida USA they can still hit you with an open container charge.

That's the law in every state.

In fact, you'd get hit by an open container charge just walking down the street in most places.

What... and I suppose you like X instead? Real men get Y or Z at least... You're probably driving an A LOL!

Edited by astropheed, Apr 28 2014, 11:39pm :

Enron said,
If it gets in an accident, does the Google Car notify the police and call Geico?

Geico? They are probably self-insured.

Enron said,
If it gets in an accident, does the Google Car notify the police and call Geico?

the car does a quick calculation to see if it can leave the scene quietly..

Enron said,
They have something for that already called a bus or a train.

Neither of which go within even a Kilometre to the parking lot located adjacent to my place of business.

Austin P said,
I can't be the only person who is pretty excited for the possibility of napping on the way to work.
Yup, this is amazing - and it's the future. Autonomous vehicles will mean a lot less accidents and congestion on the road, nevermind the reduced stress on the driver. They should also be better than most people at driving for fuel efficiency.

Enron said,
They have something for that already called a bus or a train.
Which would take me 3 hours a day rather than 1. There's a reason not everyone uses public transportation.

Austin P said,
I can't be the only person who is pretty excited for the possibility of napping on the way to work.

sleeping when you shouldnt is like a bad teasing, either wake up or dont go to work at all and sleep the day away

garou_heki said,

sleeping when you shouldnt is like a bad teasing, either wake up or dont go to work at all and sleep the day away

You don't have a job do you..

garou_heki said,

sleeping when you shouldnt is like a bad teasing, either wake up or dont go to work at all and sleep the day away

I'm pretty sure the bank wouldn't accept "I would rather stay in bed and sleep" as a good reason to obtain credits and mortgages. But to be completely fair, I do work remotely for the better portion of my work weeks :)

Jaxkesa said,

You don't have a job do you..

i actually work in an office of a political party in my country, except for two months where i have to organize the people of my region to go on a meeting with busses to the capital and the second one - to organize the people who are working on election day, troughout the year im literally being paid to play worms world party and heroes of might and magic 3 for three hours a day, and i gotta tell you you, its really hard to play those two, because im bored with playing rampart on heroes 3... and dont eveng get me stared on worms