If you think you’ve seen the Google Maps car roaming around the streets of Austin, Texas, you may want to take a second look.
Google announced on Google+ this that the tech giant is testing its self-driving car prototype amid the streets of Austin. CNET reported the story in July.
Since the car’s release in Austin more stories about interactions with the cars have popped up across the internet, including discussions about a future with self-driving cars.
Google first announced their self-driving project in May, and have since released a wealth of statements about what goes in to creating a self-driving car.
The challenge is not only getting a passenger from point of origin to destination, but getting the passenger to his or her destination without endangering anyone’s life.
A Google spokeswoman was quoted as saying that the company’s prototypes have been ingrained with “baked-in defensive driving behavior” that utilizes a visibility of two football fields.
Our sensors give us 360-degree visibility around the vehicle at all times, out to a distance of nearly two football fields, and the vehicle never gets distracted. We’ve also baked-in defensive driving behavior: We do things to avoid getting into a tricky situation.
Ironically, the spokeswoman went on to say, the car has been rear-ended on several occasions in which it was stopped at a stop light.
Cars aren’t the only ones dealing with the Google automobile’s safety-centered driving.
The Verge recently reported a biker who pulled up behind a Google car at a stoplight. When the light turned green, the car moved forward but stopped when the biker moved forward. The cautious stop-and-go continued for several minutes.
A story today in The Guardian (U.K.) called the Google car one of two of the most
“significant technological innovations” in the past 20 years. The smartphone was the other.
The lofty claim is based on the idea that the self-driving car “goes to the heart of a pathology of modern life — our dependence on automobiles.”