Google pilots cars that can drive themselves

The web giant has branched out into the field of car safety and innovation with the creation of an automated automobile
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Google has created automated cars that can drive themselves with the help of an onboard robot and a navigation system. The seven experimental vehicles have already logged more than 140,000 miles in California.

In a blog post and an advance to The New York Times, Google outlined how these robot cars work. The vehicles use video cameras, radar and laser-range finders to see traffic. A sensor on the roof scans 200 feet in all directions, while the cameras act as the eyes and the ears of the vehicle.

Detailed maps are used to navigate roads, while Google's datacentres crunch the information so the cars can handle their tasks. The prototypes cars have a trained driver on hand who can take over for the robot. Google also revealed that the vehicles can be programmed to be 'cautious' or to fit any other driving personality.

For more on this ZDNet UK-selected story, see Ready for the highway train? Google cooks up cars that drive themselves on ZDNet.com.

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