Technology

Coming in 5 Years…Google’s Driverless Car?

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google-driverless-carThe driverless car from Google has been the talk of much speculation and wonder, and the company has high hopes for one of their more ambitious projects. Google believes that they can have this vehicle on the road by 2017. But there are still a few roadblocks in the way.

One of the biggest setbacks that the driverless car has faced in the new regulations from the California DMV. The mandate states that a driver’s seat and steering wheel must be in the car so that a human being can take over control at any point if something goes wrong. And California isn’t alone in being hesitant, a number of other states have ben mandating the dame thing. Still more states haven’t even started considering what it might mean if driverless cars one day outnumbered gas vehicles.

The regulations might be a tough obstacles for Google, while always keeping an eye on the next big invention that will revolutionize the world, but it might be some time before the driverless car is road ready.

One of the major problems, besides the DMV mandates, are concerns over technical glitches. Glitches are a part of any kind of technology. But glitches in a driverless car might impact the passenger’s safety. One glitch that has come up is traffic lights. Traffic lights change over time, with new advancements being made and new lights being added or taken down to deal with traffic flows. However, the driverless car might not have learned about a new stop light or a new highway yet, which will present a problem.

The driverless cars operate with Google maps, so if Google maps is operating correctly then so will the car. But if a new highway or stop light hasn’t been added into Google Maps yet, the car will act like they aren’t there. So while the cars may have some sense of direction, they won’t understand the situation like a human would. So driverless cars will disappoint in these circumstances.

Another issue is parking. Driverless cars are great at parking in your average one level parking lot that’s right outside a building. But in a multi-deck parking structure they might have trouble and the driver will need to take over.

The weather is an unknown factor. So far the test model cars have logged 700,000 miles of navigation, all in great weather. They have not navigated in rain, snow, hail, or sleet so it is not yet known if they can perform under those circumstances.

The Google driverless car has a lot of great potential and time will tell if the company manages to get it on the road by their 2017 deadline or not. For now, they will have to work out some of the glitches they are suffering.

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