Google car In the making:
While the people around the world are gradually getting accustomed to spot driverless cars being tested which are retrofits of existing vehicle models, Google surprised not only the masses but also the whole auto industry by unveiling an archetype of an autonomous self driving electric car manufactured by the company and its partners. This ‘smiley’ faced Google car manifests several state of the art technological advances which the world has not explored so far. Let us have a look into some of the details of this masterpiece.
The very first thing you will notice about this car is the unit overhead which comprises of a radar-like unit and cameras. Google car identifies its surrounding with the help of this unit. Technically speaking, the radar like system in the overhead unit takes 3D images of the surrounding continuously and then blends them with the high resolution maps stored already in the car. This real time data enables the programmed control modules in the car to take the driving decisions.
The range of the radar system mounted on Google car extends to two football fields in all directions and so it is very unlikely that it will miss even a minute detail. But because of the 3D imaging, the data generated by this vehicle reaches a mark of 1GB per second. The picture shown below depicts how the Google car sees the world:
Google car Interiors:
Internally, the car is equipped only with two seats having seat belts, a small luggage compartment and a center console having start & stop buttons. You would be amazed to know that it has no steering wheel, accelerator and brake pedal in the passenger compartment. This is so because of the fact that the occupants would not be giving any steering input to the vehicle. The only thing the passenger would have to do is to press the START button and then enjoy the ride!
The vehicle takes all the driving decisions like reducing the speed over the turns, braking during the events of sudden interventions by other cars or people and much more on its own. A ‘STOP’ button is also provided to be used in case of emergency. At present, the speed of the car is limited to 25 miles per hour (40 km/hr approx.) as it is still in testing phase. Later, it is believed that this speed could be increased to 100 miles per hour (160 km/hr approx.).
Safety is the priority in Google car:
According to Google, Google car would be leaps ahead of other vehicles on road today in terms of safety as there is no chance for human error which results in minimizing the chances of accidents. Being accoutred with so many numbers of sensors and cameras, this vehicle is much better in terms of perception of surroundings compared to an ordinary driver. In addition, this car would be useful for transporting the people who are unable to drive and also children.
However, there are a few concerns about this technology. First of all, being controlled by computers they run the risk of being hacked and this would be fatal as the hacker could completely take over the control of the vehicle. Also, because of the requirement of sophisticated and highly advanced IT related infrastructure like servers and navigation tools, it is anticipated that these cars would be very costly.
In spite of these concerns, one thing is for sure that Google car has certainly revolutionized the way we think about the future transportation!
(The video of Google car test is available at:http://googleblog.blogspot.in/2014/05/just-press-go-designing-self-driving.html)
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