Googles self-driving cars are enticing and have successfully created a massive stir in the technology, automotive and political spheres. Though extremely impressive and exciting, there are few major obstacles to overcome before they are on roads.
The self-driving car developed by Google has safely driven more than 7,000,000 miles until now. But it looks like it would take a while before the car is completely cable of doing all the driving by itself. The machine clearly is not ready yet because of number of obstacles.
According to Chris Urmson, the head of Googles car developing team, there are few everyday-driving-situations to be addressed, before the car becomes a reality. In spite of the obstacles, Urmson is positive about finding the right solutions. He says they will be sorted out sooner than many people believe.
As per the details we know, there are a myriad of details that Googles cars have to recognize and respond to. Construction sites, new streetlights, traffic signs and traffic cop directions are among the few things that keep changing constantly. The new cars must learn these.
Googles map system is extensive. But they still have to improvise it to cater to the many miles of roadways across the country, which includes drive-thrus and driveways.
Another factor that is slowing down the progress is weather issues like heavy rain and snow, a common problem in the Northeast of the United States. The vehicles onboard cameras cannot identify the color of traffic lights when sunlight is directly behind it.
Road obstacles detected by the cars sensors cannot differentiate wayward plastic bags from large rocks on the road. The poor machine will react the same way for both – taking steps to avoid both.
Google is Positive
The range of potential problems is increasing but Google is absolutely confident that these issues are solvable. It promises that its future cars are completely driver-free, without even a steering wheel, unlike many predictions.
Urmson wants these issues sorted out, so that the car is ready by the time his 11-year-old son is 16 (the legal driving age in California).
Good News for Drivers?
The air is filled with News about machines taking over manpower. Googles self-driving car is just one of them. Professional drivers would be praying that Googles mission may be delayed as much as possible. But why? They think their career is at stake.
But there is another point in their favor. Even if Google succeeds in sorting out the existing issues, can all the ordinary cars be replaced with the self-driving ones? What would be the cost involved for such a big change? How soon would that happen?
As history would tell you, man has overcome many obstacles especially in the field of technology. But in this case, it looks as though the present generation of drivers are under no threat. In fact, one would think Googles new cars will take several years to make major impacts.
What do you think? Share your views in the comment section below.
Image Source: Google Self-Driving Car