Google’s Self Driving Car

Posted on October 12, 2010  Comments (7)

Google thinks big. Google thinks like engineers. Google is willing to spend money taking on problems that other companies don’t. They have been developing a car that can drive itself. They see a huge amount of waste (drivers lives and drivers time) and seek a solution.

Larry and Sergey founded Google because they wanted to help solve really big problems using technology. And one of the big problems we’re working on today is car safety and efficiency. Our goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.

So we have developed technology for cars that can drive themselves. Our automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. They’ve driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe. All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. We think this is a first in robotics research.

Our automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

To develop this technology, we gathered some of the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government. Chris Urmson was the technical team leader of the CMU team that won the 2007 Urban Challenge. Mike Montemerlo was the software lead for the Stanford team that won the 2005 Grand Challenge. Also on the team is Anthony Levandowski, who built the world’s first autonomous motorcycle that participated in a DARPA Grand Challenge, and who also built a modified Prius that delivered pizza without a person inside.

Related: Larry Page and Sergey Brin WebcastEnergy Secretary Steve Chu and Google CEO Eric Schmidt Speak On Funding Science ResearchGoogle’s Ten Golden RulesCMU Wins $2 million in DARPA Auto Race

7 Responses to “Google’s Self Driving Car”

  1. mike jones
    October 18th, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

    I think this will eventually lead to everyone home working with the highways just completely full of robotic cars.

  2. Steve
    November 2nd, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    Quite amazing that they were developing this technology and using it without anyone outside of Google knowing that it was being worked on. I wonder if there are other technologies as revolutionary that few know about today being worked on at Google.

  3. Chantel
    November 4th, 2010 @ 4:46 am

    Even drivers are being replaced nowadays, this one cool technology revolution but at same time promotes to man’s increasing indulgence to laziness. i can’t wait to see these cars on the streets. 🙂

  4. jmumaw
    December 18th, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

    If this technology does create the mass production of cars that drive themselves. It could also result in alot of possitives. I think it will definitely reduce if not eliminate car related injuries and death, thus reducing auto insurance premiums. I just wonder if the price of the car will be to where we can afford to buy it in the first place. I guess time will tell. It sounds awsome to me.

  5. Anonymous
    August 4th, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    This is cool! Google likes to be first in everything, from Nexus One, Self-Driving Car, Google+ etc., these prove that Google is an innovate and creative company with leading technologies. We certainly need someone like Google who lead us to a better living.

  6. Loon – Ballon Enabled Internet » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    June 15th, 2013 @ 4:40 am

    […] their interest and willingness to invest in extremely innovative engineering challenges (such as Google’s Self Driving Car) – even while other decisions in Google seem more driven by “suits” than engineers […]

  7. Self Driving Cars Have Huge Potential for Benefit to Society » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    September 6th, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    […] I first read Google was seriously investing in pursuing that idea as a commercially viable product (Google’s Self Driving Car – 2010 post). I quickly became convinced they were right. I still think it is questionable if they will succeed […]

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