Google has built a fleet of cars that drive themselves, and over the past several months, these robotic vehicles have driven over 140,000 miles on public roads, from the Pacific Coast Highway to the famous twists and turns of San Francisco's Lombard Street.
As the company revealed on Saturday morning with a blog post, each car is equipped with video cameras, radar sensors, and a laser range finder that alerts the vehicle to other traffic, and they navigate using maps previously collected by cars that were driven by people. The self-driving cars, Google says, are never unmanned. A human sits in the driver seat and can take control of the car at anytime.
According to Google's blog post, the project aims to improve 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," the post reads." Naturally, Google says it has no firms plans to actually make money form the project. But speaking with The Times, it seems to indicate that it might be able to profit by providing information and navigation services for makers of self-driving vehicles.