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.

Source: Google


Reader comments

Google's self-driving cars are hitting the city streets, handling the chaos well


As it's not currently available commercially, that's not really a problem at this point.

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There still has to be an on board driver to supervise the automated driving and supervise to make course corrections if needed. I wonder how much the driver comes into play for minor corrections and other things. Until there is no passenger or driver, then we'll see how they do.

It might be better than 90% of people for the situations it can handle, it could be down to 0% on situations it can't...

Woman just died today from texting and driving. Her Facebook post shows her posting "having a Happy Day" and then ran straight into the tree simultaneously and dying

So awesome! Can't wait for this tech to be officially released to the public. Maybe then it'll help fix the horrible traffic that plagues cities in Cali like LA.

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Prepare for heavily regulation if this tech indeed becomes public.

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It won't be long now before Skynet.. uh.. I mean Google, has us all begging to be plugged into the matrix!

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This is good news, since there are fewer and fewer people who are able to demonstrate driving ability.

Has a google car been pulled over yet? I wonder what it does when it sees the red and blues.

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They should pull over, as that is standard procedure when an ambulance or firetruck are flashing with siren, so I assume that it should pull over safely.

Soon enough these machines will telling us to get back inside our homes as it's past curfew. Very impressive (me want!)

I seriously need this now. I'm so sick of driving to work, would be nice to have a driver without having to pay them.

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They still haven't decided which company will be to blame when a collision occurs, google or car manufactuer etc. Won't be the owner's fault that's for sure. People will die because of this technology and the blood will be on Google's hands regardless of legal liability. Death by advertising company.

People will die, because people die in car accidents every year. That said, this should *reduce* the number of deaths, rather than increase it. How does that leave blood on Google's hands?

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