Google’s sensors avoid trouble, even when other drivers try to distract the cars

Google’s self-driving car technology likely will not be available for several more years – think 2017 or beyond. Recently the company took a number of reporters on little rides to show off what the car’s technology can do now. Here’s a look at the picture profile Reuters shot at the event.

A Google self-driving vehicle drives around the parking lot at the Computer History Museum after a presentation in Mountain View, Calif.

A look at the sensing/camera device on the roof of the Google Lexus RX 450h car.

A closer look at the roof mounted sensor because of the roof-mounted laser sensor which spins 10 times a second, gathering a 360-degree view of the car’s surroundings.

Another sensor mounted on a Google self-driving vehicle. According to a Reuters story: Other drivers who spot the self-driving car often swerve in front of it and tap on their brakes, hoping to gauge the Google car’s reaction, according to the two Google staffers in the car’s front seats. Another favorite involves car drivers waving their hands in the air, in an attempt to get the Google driver-seat staff member to take his or her own hands off the wheel and prove the car is really steering itself. “We just laugh at them,” said one of the Google staff members in the car.

Google’s cars have never “caused” an accident in self-driving mode, although they have been involved in a few fender benders, such as an incident in which a Google car stopped at a red light got rear-ended, Chris Urmson (pictured here], the head of Google’s self-driving car project told Reuters.

A screen displays views from various onboard sensors in a Google self-driving vehicle.

Picture given out by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles shows a Google self-driven car in Las Vegas, May 1, 2012. Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles approved the nation’s first autonomous vehicle license in 2012.

A video look at Google’s car and report on Computer History Museum’s new driverless car exhibit.

Google of course isn’t the only company interested in driverless cars. Here we take a look at Ford, MIT and Stanford efforts.


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