GOOGLE’S SELF-DRIVING car has reached a new milestone in its development as it leaves the freeway and takes to the city streets in a bid to deal with the myriad hazards that make urban motoring so challenging for humans, never mind computers.
The internet giant has posted a video on its blog of one of its driverless development cars negotiating the busy streets around the company’s offices in Mountain View, California.
Google claims the car’s software can now detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously ‒ pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn. It claims its self-driving car can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human cannot.
“As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer,” said Chris Urmson, the director of Google’s self-driving car project.
Google’s self-driving development vehicles have logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles and the company says that with each passing mile, it grows more optimistic that it will achieve its goal of the perfect autonomous car.
“We still have lots of problems to solve but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously,” said Urmson.