Google is working on a DARPA-related project to create self driving cars, with the objective to reduce the number of accidents and casualties on the road. These cars use artificial intelligence and can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.

The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret but in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.

With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control.

It is interesting to mention that one of the tests involved a Google car driving itself down Lombard St in San Francisco. I guess everyone knows that street, but in case you don’t, this is it:

So, if the car drove itself down Lombard St., it must mean the car works pretty well.

Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue. They speak in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided — more than 37,000 people died in car accidents in the United States in 2008. The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together. Because the robot cars would eventually be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption. But of course, to be truly safer, the cars must be far more reliable than, say, today’s personal computers, which crash on occasion and are frequently infected.

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