AI News, Google's Autonomous Cars Are Smarter Than Ever at 700,000 Miles

Google's Autonomous Cars Are Smarter Than Ever at 700,000 Miles

We're terrible at dealing with unexpected situations, our reaction times are abysmally slow, and we generally have zero experience with active accident avoidance if it involves anything besides stomping on the brakes and swerving wildly, which sometimes only make things worse.

Now, I may be making something out of nothing here, but if we compare the car in the image that Google provided with its latest blog post with an earlier Google car from 2012 (or even the Google car in the video), you'll notice that there's an extra piece of hardware mounted directly underneath the Velodyne LIDAR sensor: a polygonal black box (see close-up, right).

The cars always had cameras in the front to look for road signs and traffic lights, but detecting something like a cyclist making a hand signal as they blow past you from behind seems like it would require fairly robust vision hardware along with some fast and powerful image analysis software.

To continue to speculate (because it's fun!), this might suggest how Google is planning on eventually making money on all of this: rather than making and selling autonomous cars, they'll maintain a continually updated database of road data that either car manufacturers or end users will have to subscribe to in order for their cars to operate autonomously.

they may be able to deal with 90 or 95 percent of situations autonomously, but that last 5 to 10 percent to make it to 100 percent autonomy (which is what's required) is probably as hard as all of the research, programming, experience, and machine learning that's gone into the cars up to this point.

Google's autonomous car company strikes deal to buy 'thousands' of self-driving minivans from Fiat Chrysler

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The two companies didn't disclose the exact number of cars nor the value of the deal, but the Pacifica minivans cost an approximate $40,000 (£28,300) each, which could put the overall deal in the ballpark of $40 million (£28.3 million) before any bulk discount.

Google car firm Waymo signs self-driving car deal with rental firm Avis Budget

Former Google car project Waymo has signed a deal with Avis Budget Group to service and house a fleet of self-driving vehicles being tested in Phoenix, giving the rental car agency a foothold in the budding market for autonomous transportation.

“With members of the public using our growing fleet of self-driving cars, our vehicles need standard maintenance and cleaning so they’re ready for our riders at any time of the day or night,” Waymo CEO John Krafcik said in a statement.

With thousands of locations around the world, Avis Budget Group can help us bring our technology to more people, in more places.” Avis Budget CEO Larry De Shon said the deal 'allows us to accelerate our knowledge and hands-on experience in an emerging area.'

How Google driverless cars deal with emergencies

Google has shed some light on why one of its driverless cars was stopped by police for driving too slow last month, an incident that attracted widespread attention as the vehicles continue to capture the public's imagination.

slow speeds are generally safer (the kinetic energy of a vehicle moving at 35 mph is twice that of one moving at 25 mph) and help the vehicles feel at home on neighborhood streets.'

The Download

Automakers and tech firms want high-definition maps to help robo-cars drive, butthe best way to build themremains unclear.

Two approaches: “One aims to create complete high-definition maps that will let the driverless cars of the future navigate all on their own,”

Andreessen-Horowitz partner Benedict Evans says these maps have a network effect: a bigger fleet of cars using one type of maps will get better, more regularly updated maps faster than a smaller one would.

Google and Fiat Chrysler announce driverless cars deal

Fiat Chrysler has announced a deal with Google to double the size of the tech giant's fleet of self-driving cars.

'The opportunity to work closely with [Fiat] engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer,' said John Krafcik, Google's head of self-driving cars.

The announcement of the partnership came a week after Astro Teller, the head of 'Moon Shots' at Google said the driverless cars project may soon move from under the umbrella of the Google X division that focuses on futuristic innovations and projects.

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