Google's self-driving car: The latest engine from Mountain View

Google, famous for an engine of a different kind, has set its sights on the car industry, or to be more precise, the automated car industry.

The web giant has revealed that it has been testing a self-driving car around the streets and highways of California, with over 140,000 miles of driving already on the clock. (Health and safety nuts, there's no need to blow a fuse - the cars are manned by a safety driver and a software engineer at all times).

Google has been working on the technology with the best minds from the DARPA Challenges (an automated car contest set up by the US government) to develop the vehicles that use cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder, along with the enormous amount of street data Google already has, to navigate.

"Larry and Sergey founded Google because they wanted to help solve really big problems using technology", said Sebastian Thrun, software engineer at Google.

"And one of the big problems we’re working on today is car safety and efficiency. Our goal is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.

"We’ve always been optimistic about technology’s ability to advance society, which is why we have pushed so hard to improve the capabilities of self-driving cars beyond where they are today. While this project is very much in the experimental stage, it provides a glimpse of what transportation might look like in the future thanks to advanced computer science. And that future is very exciting".

The announcement is exciting, we'll give Google that. But it also makes us wonder what else the Google bods are cooking up behind the glass at the Googleplex.

Cyborg animals? Kung-Fu robots? Spaceships? Who knows what the next Google revelation will be?

Picture courtesy of ollierickman



>