Autonomous Vehicles Evolving Quickly
Google has proudly announced that their self-driving cars have now driven over 2 million miles and are a lot closer to achieving complete vehicle automation. These cars have been mastering the art of managing complex situations on public roads that may range from avoiding cars going the wrong way, to being aware of a bicycle darting in front of traffic.
As you may probably have expected, this technology has come a long way since its first million miles. Light traffic, freeways, and simple intersections have evolved this vehicle to navigate now through multiple city lanes and tackle social cues.
How did this project come to be?
Google first made highlights in the news in 2010 when they revealed their project on autonomous driving technology. Back then, the autonomous vehicles of this tech giant had only managed to cover 140,000 miles. Also, the cars also succeeded in drawing through Lombard Street (San Francisco’s most congested area and the world’s most crooked street), circumnavigating Lake Tahoe, and taking the scenic route crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
Recently, Dmitri Dolgov who is head of Google’s self-driving technology explained that achievements racked up faster than they had anticipated, saying “it’s relatively easy to attain mastery over 90% of driving that is involved on freeways, going through simple intersections, or navigating the street traffic of the city”.
He also went on to say that to make autonomous vehicles actually worth using, they had to put it through more challenging situations.
The power of the second million
Dolgov also suggested in his recent statement that the second million miles have helped their cars learn how to deal with extraordinary situations. As the vehicles had driven themselves and covered a broad range of conditions, perhaps the most interesting condition came when one vehicle had a chance encounter with the unicycle couple and a few other cars driving the wrong way.
To get the right amount of experience, the IT giant has made their vehicles navigate through complex city streets where they have reportedly become better in many ways. From detecting obstacles such as construction zones and closed lanes to identifying emergency vehicles, the cars have responded magnificently in most situations.
These cars have also become masters at understanding the nuances of other drivers and making predictions of what they’re likely to do. By accurately monitoring the subtle hints and changes of fellow drivers, these automobiles have also learned how to indicate intentions to change lanes.
The story so far
Perhaps, one of the greatest skills the Google car has learned is how to navigate through city roads more smoothly. This makes their movement not only safer but also improves the overall riding experience of the occupants. Moreover, it communicates to other drivers on the road that the self-driving car is more than competent and in complete control.
By the way things are progressing now, it shouldn’t be long till your dream of getting a few extra minutes of sleep or reading the morning newspaper on your way to work becomes a reality.