London: Internet giant Google will soon launch a car that can drive by itself.
Google engineers have tested a “self-driving” car on the streets of California and covered 140,000 miles on the road, BBC reported. The cars use video cameras mounted on the roof, radar sensors and a laser range finder to look out for traffic, software engineer Sebastian Thrun said.
There is, however, a trained driver in stand-by mode, ready to take control. Thrun, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at Stanford University, said safety was the “first priority” in the project.
Routes are pre-planned, mapped first by real drivers, and local police are briefed in advance, he said. He pointed to figures from the World Health Organization that over 1.2 million people were killed each year on the roads, and said that number could be reduced.
“We believe our technology has the potential to cut that number, perhaps by as much as half.” “It (the project) provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science. And that future is very exciting,” he said.