Google’s Self-Driving Cars Could Save Lives, Let Driver Kick Back

No one ever said Google wasn’t driven. The search giant recently demonstrated cars that drive themselves using sophisticated artificial-intelligence software. In theory, these vehicles could eliminate accidents and speeding tickets, and the “driver” could watch a movie or catch up on work instead of driving.

There are obvious safety benefits to computer-controlled cars. The World Health Organization estimates more than 1.2 million lives are lost in traffic accidents each year, and Google believes it could cut that number by as much as half with its autonomous vehicles.

Google has deployed modified Toyota Prius vehicles with an array of tech tacked on. The cars are equipped with a position estimator, a rotating sensor on the roof (for generating a 3D map of the vehicle’s surroundings), a video camera near the rear-view mirror (for detecting traffic lights and moving obstacles), and four radar sensors (for determining the position of distant objects). Add in a GPS receiver and an inertial motion sensor, and it’s easy to see how Google’s seven test cars have logged more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human intervention—and 1,000 miles without any.

To be clear, Google hasn’t completely ceded the future to robots. Each Google car has a human driver in case something goes wrong. So far, the company has reported only a single accident—and it was because someone rear-ended the car.

“We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today,” wrote Sebastian Thrun, a Google software engineer, on Google’s official blog. “While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science.”

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options