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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

SAFE DRIVE: Google’s self-driving cars log 300K miles without accidents

ANI   August 09, 2012
First Published: 14:22 IST(9/8/2012) | Last Updated: 14:32 IST(9/8/2012)

Google’s self-driving cars have covered an equivalent of 12 round the world trips without a single accident.

The cars with the hand free technology have driven themselves through “a wide range of traffic conditions” during their travels.

“We’re encouraged by this progress, but there’s still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter,” the Daily Mail quoted Chris Urmson, an engineering lead for Google, as saying.

“As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter. One day we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver’s seats and will take back control if needed.

“And while these team members are commuting, many of them will be testing our algorithms on a new type of vehicle we’ve added to the self-driving car family over the past few months to help us refine our systems in different environments and on different terrain: the Lexus RX450h. With each breakthrough we feel more optimistic about delivering this technology to people and dramatically improving their driving experience. We’ll see you on the road,” he added.

Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, in June, announced that they had issued Google with the country’s first licence to test the cars on public streets.

After conducting demonstrations on the Las Vegas Strip and in Carson City, the department said, that the car is as safe - or perhaps safer - than a human.

For one thing, the engineers programmed the car to create a “virtual buffer zone” around the obstacles, making it more aware than some drivers, about their surroundings.

As Urmson said, there’s “a long way ahead,” but rumours from within the company suggested that the cars could come to the market within three to five years.

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