Self-driving car may be coming from Google

by Cornelius Nunev

Several researcher teams around the world are working at refining a driverless automobile. Robotic cars could have many advantages beyond saving lives. Google's Lab X -- one of the places the technology is being explored -- might be preparing to produce just such an automobile as soon as next year.

Lab X at Google

Although engineer Sebastian Thrun was not the first to work at developing a robotic car, it is he who has spearheaded the project at Google's Lab X. Thrun states he has devoted his life to developing the technology after a close friend was killed in an automobile accident.

If you work at Lab X, your job is to invent. Every out-of-the-box idea is produced in the lab. This lab is kept very quiet. That is why a lot of Google employees were surprised to find out it existed. Although the majority of the projects being created there are still in the conceptual stage, two unnamed sources told the New York Times last month that one of the projects could see the manufacturing stage as soon as next year. Another source spoke about the no-drive automobile. This person said it might be manufactured in the United States by Google soon.

A few checks done

The experimental automobile was demonstrated at the TED technology conference in Long Beach, Calif., last year. The automobile has been tested on California roads since then. There is a video below that you are able to watch. It will show what some of this testing has looked like. Bystanders didn't even realize this was a vehicle driving itself because it worked so flawlessly, as reported by undertaking leader Thrun.

Not a brand new idea

The 1939 World's Fair was help in New York. Here, GM looked into what a self-driver vehicle would do. Now it may actually be possible with satellite and computer technology. Lasers, cameras and radar are all used with Global Positioning System to navigate things.

Get rid of congestion

The global gridlock problem will be saved with the robotic vehicle. As the population grows and increasingly more drivers take to the roads, traffic congestion will become a larger and larger problem.

Bill Ford is the Ford CEO. He spoke at the March TED conference saying:

"The freedom of mobility that my great-grandfather brought to people is now being threatened. Global gridlock is going to stifle economic growth and our ability to deliver food and health care, particularly to people that live in city centers, and our quality of life is going to be severely compromised."

Self-driving automobiles could all-but eliminate the problem with their computer-aided ability to drive at high speeds without fear of collisions or jams.

Other vehicle businesses have same idea

Robotic self-driving cars are in the process of being created by GM, Volkswagen and BMW.

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