After originally announcing their self-driving car project in 2010 and doing numerous tests and experiments since then, Google has made real progress in making the project a reality. With more than 200,000 miles of computer-led driving completed since then, the company has shared a preview video highlighting their progress so far through a test journey.
The video features a blind man named Steve Mahan who, through a pre-programmed route, is driven to a fast food outlet and to the dry cleaners before being dropped back home. While the car is carefully programmed to drive in a specific route, the cameras and sensors fitted into the car makes sure that it avoids any obstacles and doesn’t get into any unfortunate collisions.
While there’s clearly a lot of work to be done before such cars are made commercial – the lack of traffic in this video highlights that coping with the unpredictable nature that is human drivers is still beyond its capabilities – they’re fascinating experiments to watch and shows how far the technology has come.
While they won’t be available for a while, certain organisations are warming to the idea. For example, Nevada became the first U.S. state to allow the use of self-driving vehicles on its roadways after approving it back in February. Test vehicles will display a red license plate, and when the technology is approved for public use, these cars will carry a green license plate.