Until Now, Google’s self-driving cars project has been quite impressive already, but the company has announced new strides that takes things to the next level. They’ve gotten it to a point where the cars can detect road obstacles, vehicles, pedestrians, bikers, hazards, construction detours and more without the guidance of a human. Those strides have allowed them to take the car off predictable, non-complex freeways and onto the streets of Mountain View.
By their own admission a city street scenario is a lot more complicated to navigate and is quite chaotic to the human brain. Their big news? They’ve gotten the self-driving car’s autonomy to a level of fidelity that makes those chaotic roads a lot more predictable — so much so that the car apparently adapts to ever-changing road conditions more appropriately than a human being can.
They’ve done so with 700,000 miles of driving data, using everyday road situations to craft tons of new simulation models. The car’s various sensors can detect a boatload of stuff, from whether a car is stopping or plowing through a stop light or stop sign, to determining what direction a biker is turning based on the biker’s hand signals.
Granted, this is only one street in one Californian city, but Google’s confident that the progress they’re making will eventually lead to a car that can navigate the entirety of Mountain View without any human interaction whatsoever. How long that will take is still up in the air, but with as much time and money Google is throwing behind this project we imagine it could happen within our current lifetime.
Of course, being able to navigate an entire state or even a country is a different story, and we might not ever see that happen. Regardless, it’s all very interesting and has us excited for the future of smart cars. Their video is sitting above so take a quick two minute break to check it out.