With a post on its official blog today, Google is giving an update on its self-driving car initiative, showing that the latest goal is to improve driving on city streets. Google's self-driving car project has already driven thousands of miles without a hitch, but until recently has primarily focused on simple highway driving. As anyone who has driven through a busy city core before knows, there are new and drastically more difficult to handle situations in the city than on an open road.
Pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic revisions, railroad tracks and downright bad drivers all throw additional variables at a computer that's trying to keep a car and passengers safe, but Google says that it's making big strides in managing these new challenges. Its latest self-driving car software can recognize dozens of common (and less-than-common) driving situations and immediately choose the best course of action. Whether it's a group of people crossing the street holding up a right turn or a disabled semi truck on the side of the road, the car now just knows what to do.
Google's self-driving cars becoming ubiquitous is still a good ways off, but we're starting to see a real refinement of what this technology is capable of doing. Just a little more time and testing is all that's needed now.