Driverless cars will soon be a reality on the roads of Nevada after the state approved America's first self-driven vehicle licence. The first to hit the highway will be a Toyota Prius modified by search firm Google, which is leading the way in driverless car technology.
Google’s self driving car is also known as an ‘autonomous car’. Google handles the software for these futuristic vehicles. Since all car accidents are caused by human error, the self-driving cars were designed to prevent accidents as they have a view from all directions. The autonomous cars are also built to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and to be a super convenient method of travelling. The cars can read traffic lights, stop signs, cars stopping suddenly, people walking in the road and have a virtual buffer zone which can sense obstacles all around it, even better than most humans.
At present only a few test vehicles are being used on the roads. It is estimated that the autonomous vehicles will be ready for the market in three to five years. This should be a positive future catalyst for Google, Toyota, and any other car manufacturers interested in partnering with Google.
Bruce Breslow, director of Nevada's Department of Motor Vehicles, says he believes driverless vehicles are the "cars of the future". Nevada changed its laws to allow self-driven cars in March. The long-term plan is to license members of the public to drive such cars. Google's car has been issued with a red licence plate to make it recognisable. The plate features an infinity sign next to the number 001.
Google’s self driving car video shows a blind man in the driver’s seat, he never has to touch the steering wheel the car relies on radar sensors, GPS satellite navigation, cameras, lasers, and a collection of data taken from manually driven cars to navigate the roads.
By Geraldine Ashton Green
Wed, 01 Aug 2012