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Cars That Drive Themselves

This country is in desperate need of road safety – in 2008, 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States. The greatest threat to drivers is other drivers, as the leading causes of accidents are distractions such as texting, rubbernecking, or gazing at the scenery.

That’s why Google engineers have been working on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that mimic a human driver.

Autonomous cars would be safer than human drivers for a number of reasons – they react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception, and do not get sleepy, distracted, or intoxicated.

The technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to navigate with greater agility, while closer together. Once cars were deemed safer, they could be built lighter, which would reduce fuel consumption.

Like the idiot-proof cars we reported on previously, Google’s autonomous cars know when to stop for lights and stop signs. They also make vocal announcements such as “approaching a crosswalk,” to warn the human driver, as well as other alerts to let the car occupants know if there’s a malfunction with the sensors or the master control system.

Watch as a reporter from Good Morning America goes for a ride in a Google car:

 

Development of this game-changing technology is at least eight years away. But already, seven Google test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention, and 140,000 miles with only occasional human control.

The cars have also successfully merged onto highways and navigated some of San Francisco’s steepest and curviest roads. Technologists believe that these vehicles could transform society as significantly as the Internet has.

We’ve posed this question before, but we ask again: How does artificial intelligence strike you? Do you feel more inspired or spooked about a world filled with autonomous ‘bots?

5 Responses to “Cars That Drive Themselves”

  1. This is cool, but if people want to increase the capacity of roads, they should consider making public transportation options a priority. Seriously. One person per car is still such a waste of resources.

  2. dis is cooo! 😀

  3. this one is truly amazing…i wonder what more humans can invent..

  4. This is awesome, but if every one has these won’t people become less aware of their surroundings? Won’t every one rely on the autimatic to do the work for them?

  5. Google has done a amazing job of creating new invations that will one day change the world and i hope that they kep up the good work cause they can have such a great inpact on the world that will change our minds on many aspects in the world. i defently have felt inspired about engineering witch has helped my make collage decisions. i am am mechanical and areospace engineer and i hope to inpact the world someday to and we all have the power to do it. eGFI please send my emails updating me with new invations that can change the world. thanks in advance

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