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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Google Navigates Self-driving Car Safely

A blind man dropped by at the Taco Bell restaurant, enjoyed his Taco order, and later picked up his suit from a neighborhood dry cleaner. Sounds like nothing special but the blind man is seated behind a self-driving car powered by Google’s technology.

Organization like DARPA has been launching a special kind of competition started in 2004 challenging car designers to come up with a technology in self-driven cars that will complete the course without any human intervention.  Through the years, participants in the competition failed to complete the course and only managed a 12 km unaided and that’s how far the best record has gone so far. 

But, Google as one of the year’s entrants has published a video showing how a blind man named Steve Mahan has completed a 200,000 miles course safe and unaided with his self-driven Toyota Prius and Google is claiming to have taken the competition victoriously.

Google’s Toyota Prius uses navigation technology using radar and laser that has somewhat taken the Steve Mahan safe in his drive around his neighborhood. Mahan is with a ninety-five percent vision handicap and is legally blind. He is very optimistic that the feat would generally change his life and would bring more independence and flexibility in his movements. He said he is happy that with his self-driving car powered by Google, he can go around places and go where he needs without getting anxious or paranoid about his safety while on the road.

Google being a web giant admitted that the project has been going on as early as 2010 with goals to make driving more safe and enjoyable and said the drive is a sort of test drive for its core research. Google also described the drive as a technical experiment that would guide them in continuing their quest for autonomous technology that will complete and meet the safety standard in self-driving car technology. It also added the company is excited to own the self-driving car anytime soon. But also said that there’s still a lot of jobs to do before the technology can be really out and ready.

Google has released a video of the successful test drive and encouraging the public to view and share their opinions on the said videos. Meanwhile other US States are now gearing towards passing bill on the use of self-driving cars and want to ensure that safety standards are met to ensure public safety.