Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

Google's self-driving car project fleet has now logged 300,000 miles safely as the company looks ahead to more challenging traffic conditions:  construction zones, inclement weather, and San Francisco commuters.

“We’ve done some testing in Nevada, Florida, Washington D.C., and other areas, but most of our testing has been in California because that’s where our team is based,” a Google spokesperson told TPM in a statement.

Further, Google said on Tuesday that a new type of car will join its fleet of about a dozen modified Toyota Priuses: The Lexus RX450h.

Not only that, but Google said it will be widening the tests to new terrain and driving situations, including “snow-covered roadways” and “temporary construction signals.” Google will also begin allowing the cars to have just one human monitor riding along, instead of the previous two-people per-car.

Finally, the company said it will allow some employees to begin taking the cars to work.

Specifically, the work commutes using the Google self-driving cars “will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area at this pont,” a company spokesperson told TPM.

Google’s spokesperson told TPM that none of Google’s self-driving cars had ever been involved in an incident with law-enforcement. 

That will eventually happen, but that's why you test these things.  Still, given another 5 years or so I see this technology being commercially available, and given another 10 or 15 it may be commonplace.  Can't wait to see that happen.

Hurry up, Google.  My commute sucks.

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