Google's Autonomous Robotic Car

The Google autonomous car is no mere lab prototype; this self-driving robotic car has logged more than 140,000 miles on regular roads, with only occasional human intervention.

(Google autonomous car)

With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control. One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.

During a half-hour drive beginning on Google’s campus 35 miles south of San Francisco last Wednesday, a Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway 101, the freeway through Silicon Valley.

It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later. The device atop the car produced a detailed map of the environment.

The project is the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, the 43-year-old director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a Google engineer and the co-inventor of the Street View mapping service.

(From Diagram of Google robotic car)

Science fiction fans have been waiting for self-driving cars for at least seventy years. In his 1941 novel Methuselah's Children, Robert Heinlein imagined an autonomous car:

The car slid up the ramp, waited until the traffic control signaled a predicted break in traffic, then joined the high-speed northbound stream. Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...

She woke just before the signal from the car which would have called her... She signaled the traffic control ahead; it cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car, then rang the alarm which notified her to resume local control.
(Read more about Heinlein's self-driving car)

I should also mention the spinner, from Roger Zelazny's 1966 story The Dream Master.

Via NYTimes.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/9/2010)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Vehicle ")

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.

Tesla's New Autopilot, With Test Drive Video
'As the beautiful old car cruised in almost perfect silence under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

Will The Dashboard Disappear From Autonomous Cars?
'No controls and no instruments...' - James Blish, 1957.

Tesla Promises Fully Autonomous Cars By 2018
It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway.- Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.



Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.






Current News

ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."

Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'

Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'

Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'

Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'

Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Tesla Autopilot Road Trip 2995 Miles, 57 Hours
'The beautiful old car cruised ... under the guidance of its automatic controls...'

The 'Marching Mountains' Of Pluto
Calling Captain Future!

Graphene Thermopile May Grant Predator Heat Vision To Humans
'What the hell are you?'

BitDrones Flying Microbots Model Programmable Matter
'... as though a child should build from nursery blocks a fantastic shape which abruptly is filled with throbbing life.'

Starship Turbolift Elevators Coming From ThyssenKrupp AG
Your sideways elevator is getting closer to your floor.

LineFORM MIT's Shape-Changing Interface
'For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'

LM3D Swim First 3D-Printed Production Car
'Almost as good as the original it was printed from…'

Protopiper Lets You Sketch Full-Size Objects In Real Space
'Plastic comes out of the end of the drawing arm and hardens...'

AI Trainers: Assisting Artificial Intelligences
'[Ava] wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.