Google Car Update!
We’ve been told repeatedly in the news that driverless vehicles will be hitting the roads soon …….so where are they? It seems the front runner in the race is Google, but recently there have been reports that all may not be going as smoothly as Google may have hoped……..In our leasing news we are taking a moment to catch up with the story to keep all our leasing customers informed ………
So what problems does the driverless vehicle face now?
Well, firstly the Department of Motor Vehicles in California has thrown a spanner in the works as they have now changed the law. No vehicle can be on the road unless the driver can take immediate physical control. This is bad news for the Google car as it currently has no pedals and no steering wheel. Google hoped to have hundreds of prototypes ready for testing on Californian roads within the next few years, they have now said they will now fit a steering wheel and pedal system so testing can still go ahead.
Next comes the information that the Google driverless car cannot cope in many weather conditions. With the complicated sensors and lasers the car uses to ‘see’ the road and surrounding objects they still cannot distinguish between heavy rain/snow and actual physical objects. The Google car will reportedly assume the rain/snow are objects and will take you nowhere. This may not be a huge problem in California but here in Britain we would never get anywhere!
There are other objects that will confuse the Google car, it apparently can’t tell the difference between a paper bag that could be driven over safely and a solid object so will drive around it. It also won’t be able to sense potholes so will take you straight over them ……. It could be a bumpy ride! The cameras that detect traffic lights are said to be confused by strong sunlight so Google cars could be causing mayhem on your daily commute.
Further to this is the complicated mapping system needed so your Google car can take you to your destination. Sensor cars need to go out and map the road then this information needs to be checked before it can be communicated to other Google cars. As it stands at the moment mapping has only been completed for 1% of the roads in America. So far no solution has been found for those who live in rural areas, as Google cars need a signal to receive data and navigate. Even when mapping is complete everywhere Google cars will be completely reliant on pre-set data so cannot deviate from the route programmed, this spells bad news when those temporary traffic lights and road works pop up!
Aside from all of the safety and technical issues there is still the issue of people’s opinion and trust in the driverless vehicle. Recent surveys have revealed 54% of British motorists would not want to own a driverless vehicle. 95% are still concerned over the safety of driverless vehicles; of these 15% question who would be liable in an accident and 12% have fears over how easily the computer system could be hacked.
……….. It seems we may still be a long way away from seeing driverless vehicles on our roads.
For more information on driverless vehicles check out our blog ‘Driverless Vehicles – Will They Ever Become a Reality? And if you love technology have a read of ‘A Round Up of some of the tech we could soon be seeing in our cars.’
The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.
5 September 2014
Written by Rivervale