Self-driving cars closer to production

The prospect of pulling up at the traffic lights and not seeing a driver next to you has this month stepped closer to becoming a reality, with internet giant Google updating the world on its self-driving cars project.

A recent update on the business's official blog announced that their self-driving cars had logged nearly 700,000 autonomous miles and that they were a step closer to creating a vehicle which can operate with no human control at all.

The tests which have taken place on the inner streets of Mountain View, California have been very successful with a number new innovations embedded into the car's software.

Director of the self-driving car project at Google Chris Urmson said the software is crucial to the self-driving cars being a safe option in the future.

"A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," he said.

"We've improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously—pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn."

He noted that the self-driving vehicle doesn't get tired or distracted - a big issue for a fleet manager with drivers on long journeys. 

As the car has only learnt streets in Mountain View, more practice is needed before moving onto another town. The software has overcome many situations, however, so it shouldn't be too long before the self-driving car takes on a new city, Google says.

While the thought of self-driving cars may worry some fleet managers, there are still many barriers around the implementation of the technology and it will still be a few years at least before there are widespread tests attempted.

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