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Google: Our Self-Driving Cars Are Getting Better

They can handle many common street traffic issues


Self-driving cars are moving closer to reality.

google street view carGoogle (GOOG) says that it has trained its self-driving cars to handle a variety of routine traffic conditions on their own. In a post on Google’s blog, the director of the tech giant’s self-driving car project said that common situations that would have “stumped” the self-driving cars just two years ago “can now be navigated autonomously.”

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In order to get self-driving cars ready to handle the complexities of real-world driving, Google said it had “logged thousands of hours” navigating its vehicles through the streets of Mountain View, Calif. Urban streets present a variety of challenges to the autonomous vehicles, including double parking, jaywalkers and vehicles emerging from unseen driveways.

“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,” Google noted, pointing out that self-driving cars don’t become tired or get distracted.

While progress toward a self-driving car ready for use on the road continues, Google concedes that “we still have lots of problems to solve.”

In 2012, the state of Nevada issued Google a license to test its self-driving cars on state roads, provided a human drive was present in the vehicle.

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