Google and some prominent car manufacturers like BMW and Audi ventured into creating their prototypes for a self-driving car. The self-driving technology of Google made a roboticist at MIT liken the moment to the era when the Wright brothers introduced air travel. The roboticist was taken aback by the car’s ability to maneuver through the streets, stopping at lights, switching lanes and accelerating to merge into traffic.
The feat was made possible because of the technology Google engineered and attached in the car. The car uses radar, cameras and range-finding lasers attached on top of the vehicle enabling it to sense its surrounding.
The lasers help is giving a 360-degree view of pedestrians, intersections, and vehicles, for a smooth maneuvering through a street.
Google stored a detailed map in the car’s computer. This map was downloaded to the autonomous car by driving the car manually to scan the roads in advance. The car is sensor-loaded allowing it to detect potholes, stop signs, curves and other features which were processed into a detailed map, to help the car navigate safely.
The pre-mapping strategy of Google simplifies the computing the autonomous car has to do in real time, which can potentially reduce its price tag. With this data, Google now faces the challenge to create various maps worldwide and updating them as the roads change. The data used to process these maps are important to keep the commuters and car owner safe. Furthermore, the car’s sensors should also have the ability to recognize hand gestures and common cues used by pedestrians, cyclists and traffic cops.
This challenge might take about 30 years to solve. But Google is positive that with the help of younger people this can be addressed. They acknowledge the fact that the determination and idealism of a young person can break barriers and achieve the impossible.