Self-driving cars have long been a topic of speculation and seemed to be a dream of the distant future. Recently however, companies have begun serious work on self-driving cars that they intend to one day hit the roads for the average person to use. As time goes on, it seems more and more likely that we’ll see the reality of self-driving cars within our lifetimes and they’ll eventually be used in all areas of life, from public transportation to private use to get to work or travel. One of the companies making the most recent strides in self-driving technology is Google, who has been working on their own self-driving car.
How does it drive?
The car has a map and sensor that allows it to know what city, state, or country it’s in and then also where it is on the road, so it drives in the correct direction and stays in its lane. The sensor also gives the car information about the objects around it, like how large they are and if they’re moving. The car’s sensor detects how fast an object’s moving and then adjusts its speed and trajectory to avoid the object because it can also predict how the object will likely move, such as a pedestrian getting ready to cross the street. The car constantly evaluates its surroundings in order to adjust its speed and safely maneuver on the roads.
What technology makes this happen?
Google first began adding features to already built vehicles, but soon created their own prototype to gain a better perspective and larger understanding of how best to create a self-driving car. Their prototype has no steering wheel or pedals and relies on its sensor and other technology to successfully drive the streets. The sensor is placed on the top of the vehicle to get a 360 degree view of the car’s surroundings. Something that might reassure anyone who’s skeptical of a self-driving car is that it has a backup system for braking, steering, and other necessary functions in case the sensor and computer fail.