Google's Self-Driving Car May Never Actually Happen


Fri, Oct 24th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Slate, while it seems that the self-driving car is right around the corner due to all of its impressive achievements, the system can't actually "avoid potholes or operate in heavy rain or snow." If anything, in order for the vehicle to be successful, it will need "a computer with a level of intelligence that machines won't have for many years, if ever."

The mapping system isn’t the only problem. The Google car doesn’t know much about parking: It can’t currently find a space in a supermarket lot or multilevel garage. It can't consistently handle coned-off road construction sites, and its video cameras can sometimes be blinded by the sun when trying to detect the color of a traffic signal. Because it can't tell the difference between a big rock and a crumbled-up piece of newspaper, it will try to drive around both if it encounters either sitting in the middle of the road. (Google specifically confirmed these present shortcomings to me for the MIT Technology Review article.) Can the car currently "see" another vehicle's turn signals or brake lights? Can it tell the difference between the flashing lights on top of a tow truck and those on top of an ambulance? If it's driving past a school playground, and a ball rolls out into the street, will it know to be on special alert? (Google declined to respond to these additional questions when I posed them.)



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