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Sun Feb 3, 2013, 12:55 PM

Auto Revolution: A Promising Future for Self-Driving Cars

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With its 12 vehicles, Google has the largest known test fleet of self-driving cars. All together, the Internet giant has covered over half a million kilometers (300,000 miles) in these robotic vehicles, most of it on California's public roads and highways. The cars have driven through Los Angeles, around Lake Tahoe and down the famous hairpin turns of San Francisco's Lombard Street. They have become so reliable, in fact, that Google is now taking SPIEGEL out for a demonstration.

Self-driving cars, long dismissed as a utopian pipe dream, are rapidly reaching the stage where they will be ready for the market. "We're not talking about 20 years here, but more like five," says Sebastian Thrun, initiator and director of Google's project.

Five years until the first driverless cars hit the streets? It sounds like just any of the other science-fiction ideas that seem to percolate out of the manically creative world that is Google headquarters. But could it be that the company is about to show the automobile industry what the future of mobility looks like?

In truth, however, the real surprise here is something else entirely: Everything Google can do, carmakers already do as well -- they just don't talk about it as openly. In one European Union-funded research project, Volvo successfully drove a convoy of five vehicles that only had a human driver in the lead car. BMW recently sent a robotic car on a two-hour drive from Munich to Nuremberg. And Volkswagen and a research team from Stanford University have caused a stir with their driverless Audi sports car, which that has been zipping around US racetracks.

Read the whole article at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/business/driverless-cars-are-a-reality-but-face-acceptance-obstacles-a-880716.html

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Reply Auto Revolution: A Promising Future for Self-Driving Cars (Original post)
PoliticAverse Feb 2013 OP
longship Feb 2013 #1
PoliticAverse Feb 2013 #2
SharonAnn Feb 2013 #3
DavidDvorkin Feb 2013 #4

Response to PoliticAverse (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 01:50 PM

1. I wonder how they'd do on the unpaved roads here.

Or even the paved two lanes when they are snow covered and there are no clues to the road's path.

Just wondering.

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Response to longship (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:04 PM

2. "we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways"

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.

http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-self-driving-car-logs-more-miles-on.html

Apparently they also have issues in very heavy rain as that interferes with the sensors.


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Response to PoliticAverse (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 02:34 PM

3. I've wanted this for years. I'd like to "go along for the ride" and be free to talk on the phone,

read a book, check email.

What I loved when I lived in urban areas was that I almost never needed to drive. There were always buses and subways.

I have no vanity about my driving or belief that I can do it better than good technology. I learned that with new braking systems. They're much better at sudden stops and I have avoided accidents because of them.

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Response to PoliticAverse (Original post)

Sun Feb 3, 2013, 03:43 PM

4. This will be a great boon for the old and the blind.

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