CHAUFFEUR; The Self Driving Car from Google
Saturday 30 November 2013

CHAUFFEUR; The Self Driving Car from Google

Have a nap, have food, read newspaper while you’re alone in the car driving. Oops, while your car is driving. Yes!! The car with no driver.

Google and its team of Engineers is out with yet another wonder. The Driverless cars!!! They named the software powering Google’s car, Google Chauffeur. Lettering on the side of each car identifies it as a "self-driving car." Sebastian Thrun, a Google Engineer and the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-inventor of Google Street View led the team for this project. Thrun's team at Stanford created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and its US$2 million prize from the United States Department of Defense. The team developing the system consisted of 15 engineers working for Google, including Chris Urmson, Mike Montemerlo, and Anthony Levandowski who had worked on the DARPA Grand and Urban Challenges, combining the knowledge of Google, Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University.

Initially the consent to make these cars get down on roads were tough, but later on the U.S. state of Nevada passed a law on June 29, 2011 permitting the operation of autonomous cars in Nevada. Google had been lobbying for robotic car laws. The Nevada law went into effect on March 1, 2012, and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for an autonomous car in May 2012. The license was issued to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology.  Florida became the second state to allow the testing of autonomous cars on public roads according to the law passed in April 2012. California became the third state to legalize the use of self-driven cars for testing purposes as of September 2012 when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law at Google HQ in Mountain View.

Saying about the machine part of these cars, Google's robotic test cars have about $150,000 in equipment including a $70,000 LIDAR (laser radar) system. The range finder mounted on the top is a Velodyne 64-beam laser. This laser allows the vehicle to generate a detailed 3D map of its environment. The car then takes these generated maps and combines them with high-resolution maps of the world, producing different types of data models that allow it to drive itself.

While Google has no immediate plans to commercially develop the system, the company hopes to develop a business which would market the system and the data behind it to automobile manufacturers. An attorney for the California Department of Motor Vehicles raised concerns that "The technology is ahead of the law in many areas," citing state laws that "all presume to have a human being operating the vehicle". According to The New York Times, policy makers and regulators have argued that new laws will be required if driverless vehicles are to become a reality because "the technology is now advancing so quickly that it is in danger of outstripping existing law, some of which dates back to the era of horse-drawn carriages".

In August 2013 news reports surfaced about Robo-Taxi, a driverless vehicle from Google. Never get shocked if you see a car driving with no driver on road, the future has really advanced a lot and gone loads of steps up that you can just sit back and relax while your car is driving on its own to the place you want to go.

Have a look at the video of the car with no driver,