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Google Has Made Self-Driving Cars, And They Work!

Google Knight Rider-like car has been developed

Over the past year (at least) Google has been street-testing a secret car project.  Last weekend they announced the results, a self-driving robotic car.  While it might not have a smack-talk personality and sophisticated AI like the Knight Rider car from television, these cars are able to get from point A to point B safely and efficiently.

Google’s robotic cars have been on the roads for a while now, Google doesn’t confirm when the cars first started driving themselves but the earliest video capture of one of these was posted on Facebook back in November of 2009.  This video evidence combined with Google’s statement that their fleet of robot cars have driven over 140,000 combined miles tells us that this technology works.  Of course, to comply with state laws and safety concerns, each car is manned by a human being who can step in should the self-driving system fail.

drive hands free, google car

Google gave the NY Times the following infographic describing how the technology works:automatic driving car chart

TU Braunschweig has also been working on a very similar project in Germany, the only difference is that they don’t have the same resources as Google so they’ve only begun street testing as early as last week.


Google has created a monster, and by monster I mean a really groovy car system of transportation that could save lives from bad drivers, put an end to DUI’s, and make your morning commute a lot less stressful.

What do you think of the self driving cars?

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8 Responses to Google Has Made Self-Driving Cars, And They Work!

  1. groovinJackman October 11, 2010 at 9:38 am #

    eeeeehhh…I’m nervous already. I guess auto-driver for cars could someday be as feasible as auto-pilot for planes, but I feel like over-reliance on it would atrophy our capacities for the subtle art of driving. But then again, if EVERYONE had a self-driving car, there’d be less human error to compensate for (i.e. that asshat cutting you off or the nervous nelly who can’t make up their mind whether to merge or not). But a parkway full of auto-driven cars gets awfully close to the original self-driving car: the train.

    Actually, I take it all back–that would be an awesome application of self-driven cars. Everyone hops on the freeway, where all cars get put into auto-drive. Then, when you get to your exit, you can hop off and go back to manual mode. It’s the best of both worlds between public transit and driving yourself.

    • alexmvp October 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm #


      Have you ever watched the Minority Report? I’ve always said – the best way to stop car accidents and traffic is to get rid of the human element. I was thinking doing something more like putting a rail on the freeway and letting the car take over. Freeways would run smooth and yeah, once ya hit the exit the human takes over. Possibly make it a Transition zone at a stop light or something so if the dude is sleeping, he will wake up once he goes manual.

      Dang, this is freaking genius! Is anything writing this down!

      • MrGroove October 11, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

        Um… you just did Alex

        To much going on with side streets. I read in the paper that Google was having issues with understanding hand signals from Police who are directing traffic so yeah, huge draw back there.

        From a freeway standpoint however, good idea guys. Wow… combine that with the better place cars:

        and the charging depots and that could take travel to an entire new level. Fall asleep in LA and Wake up in Seattle. The car could drive on its own and stop for battery swaps. The car could also go 100+ MPH or as fast as traffic allows.

        I like it!

  2. Doug May 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    This has already been done and abandoned in San Diego. It was part of the California PATH program. It used a concept called platooning the cars.

    Pretty cool actually. I remember reading the article and they showed eight cars going down I-15 and all the drivers had their hands sticking out the driver-side window.

    Now I can get that extra 40-minutes of winks I missed last night and a cat-nap on the way home so I’m fresh for an evening of fun with the family :0)

    • Steve Krause May 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

      Makes me think of the Minority report. You would just jump in and every car was like a personal subway on the “smart grid”. Honestly I think that’s the only way this is going to work. All it will take is 1 or 2 hackers to ruin everyone’s day with this type of system.

  3. Julie Moskal August 27, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Just because the guys in San Diego couldn’t do it doesn’t mean the idea should be scrapped all together! That’s a defeatest attitude. We wouldn’t have airplanes if people all thought that way! I’m all for these cars! Humans clearly don’t know how to drive! LOL

    • Steve Krause August 27, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      WOOT! Well the day they get this right is the day traffic jams END. I’ll vote for that @Julie!

    • Doug October 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Who has a defeatest attitude and said it should be scrapped?

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