The Google car without driver: How does it work?
Google has made a splash with its autonomous car project called the Google Car. But realistically, how does it work? Which technologies she lie? Autonomous Google Car was nice to rely heavily on technology, it remains dependent on humans and intelligence. Since its introduction to the public, the project leader, Sebastian Thrun, who also co-invented the Street View service, has also made it clear that because Google does actually leads never unmanned. First, there is always a driver can regain control of the vehicle with a single blow fly or brake, but there is also a co-pilot, who oversees the smooth running of the whole party software.
Other important precision: the route was first traveled once or more conventionally, with a driver driving the vehicle to save the route and all its signs, and draw up a very detailed map.This information will then be compared with data collected when the car is autonomous. This will include the vehicle to differentiate pedestrians from stationary objects.
For all these tasks, the car will rely on several technologies, estimated at some $ 150 000 total value, including:
remote sensing laser (also called “lidar”) is actually a rotary multi sensor placed on the roof of the vehicle, with a range of over 60 meters, which will be able to generate an accurate map in three dimensions of the environment of the car. It is specifically the HDL model of the E-64 Velodyne brand. This is the heart of the system and also its most expensive item (70 000).
A motion sensor: it will be placed above the left rear wheel. It is responsible for measuring and recording all movements, even the smallest, made by car. It helps the car to geotag properly.
A camera: it is located near the rearview mirror. Detecting fires and all signage, it also recognizes the moving obstacles, such as toes or cyclists.
A radar: four sensors on the bumpers, three front and one at the rear, to determine the distance between the vehicle and the objects. Their scope is sufficient to help the car to identify other vehicles driving fast on highways.
During a test of the Google Car, the driver releases the steering wheel and let the car drive alone.
The car of course respects the rules of the road. Speed limits are previously stored on the cards. The car also keeps the distance from other vehicles, through its sensors. It also respects the priorities, but if other drivers do not realize the favor, she is also able to show a little aggression, for example, advancing a little at intersections to show his intention when necessary . For Chris Urmson, technical project manager, “without this kind of programmed behavior, the car could not drive in the real world.”
Google, law, and accidents of Google Cars
Google’s lobbying helped to pass laws allowing, under certain conditions, driverless cars on the roads of Nevada, California and Florida. In all, Google said last summer have rolled his intelligent vehicles on nearly 500,000 kilometers, of which 1,600 in total autonomy. The only two known light of Google Cars accidents were due to human error or because of another vehicle, or when it was the man who was driving.
Mountain View now has more than ten autonomous vehicles in circulation. The models used by Google are the Toyota Prius, the Audi TT and the Lexus RX450h. They are not marketed, but today, suppliers believe that the price of remote sensing laser could quickly go down, and very significantly. Moreover, most automakers are engaged in experiments car more or less autonomous.
To Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, to be sure, “a car must drive alone” and that the cars have appeared before the computer is simply a “bug.” Sebastian Thrun is also convinced. ”There will come a generation that found just ridiculous that cars may have once been carried by humans,” he says.
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