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 | del.icio.us | 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 ")

Google Lobbies For Autonomous Motorcycles
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems.'- Bruce Sterling, 1988.

Cruise Automation's 'Highway Autopilot' For $10K
'It cut her out of the stream of vehicles and reduced the speed of her car...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941

myCopter Personal Aerial Vehicle (PAV)
Not quite as freewheeling as the sfnal version, but it might work.

Spam Autonomous Cars And Philip K. Dick
'The news vending machine, being homotropic, headed toward them...'- Philip K. Dick, 1963.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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

New Material Is One Molecule Thick
'Hasan always pitched a Gauzy - a one-molecule-layer tent...'

Robot Swarm Obeys Commands
'What is the nature of this cloud? What is your opinion?'

AliveCor App Detects Heart Arrhythmias, Has FDA Approval
Works on humans and puppeteers.

Laws Of Robotics Rewritten for Health Care
A lot has happened in health care robotics since 1942...

Origami Robot Finally Self-Assembles, Walks On Its Own
Now shipping flat, but better than Ikea, because self-assembling.

A.L.O. Robot Butler Serves You At Aloft Hotel
'Her idea of what a butler-valet combo should look like...'

Mometum Machines Burgerbot
'One of these gorgeous eating places where we were served entirely by mechanical apparatus...'

Google Lobbies For Autonomous Motorcycles
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems.'

No Cages In Future Zoos Is Zootopia?
'The park... twisted through specimens from every inhabited planet of the known universe.'

Navdy HeadUp Display (HUD) For Your Car
'All displays are thrown on a mirror in front of you...'

Computer 'Aesop' Writes Fables With A Moral
'I handed Tony the master tape and he played it into the IBM'

Artificial Wombs - Ectogenesis Technology - Is On The Way
'Magnificent, aren't they? (Lama Su, in Star Wars II)

Robotic Exoskeleton For Shipyard Workers
'Earth's scientists solved the problem... devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'

Timeful Appointment App Learns, Optimizes Your Routines
'The [Daily Schedule program] suited its tone to his movements and the combined analysis of his psychophysical condition.'

3D Printing Your Science-Fictional Metals
I love science-fictional materials!

Bespoke Clothing In 30 Minutes
'He sat himself down in a sales cubicle and dialed the code number for kilts.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

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

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.