Google autonomous car Stories January 6, 2016

Given Google’s apparent lead in driverless car technology, you might imagine that the tech giant has notched-up the greatest number of patents in the field, but Reuters says that this isn’t the case. A detailed analysis of patent filings for autonomous car technology shows that car manufacturers are way out ahead, with Google only taking 26th place.

Toyota is, far and away, the global leader in the number of self-driving car patents, the report found. Toyota is followed by Germany’s Robert Bosch GmbH, Japan’s Denso Corp, Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co and General Motors Co. The tech company with the most autonomous-driving patents, Alphabet Inc’s Google, ranks 26th on the list.

Toyota has more than 1,400 patents in the field, twice as many as second-placed Robert Bosch …

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Google autonomous car Stories June 19, 2015

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has released brief factual details of six accidents involving Google and Delphi self-driving cars, after the Associated Press successfully argued that legitimate public interest in the safety of the cars outweighed normal confidentiality rules. Self-driving cars were not found to be at fault in any of the accidents, and there were no injuries.

According to the reports, most of the cars were in self-driving mode when the accidents happened, and the other driver caused the accident. None of the crashes were serious enough to injure the person the state requires to sit behind the wheel, and the reports say none of the people in the other cars were treated for injuries either.

Five of the six accidents involved Google cars, and four of those were with the car in self-driving mode. The DMV was unaware of eight other accidents involving Google autonomous cars until the company shared the information during a conference call in April …  expand full story

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Google autonomous car Stories May 15, 2015

Google’s fleet of self-driving Lexus cars have notched up a total of 140,000 miles on public roads, and the company is now ready to begin road-testing its first purpose-built autonomous cars.

We first saw the cute-looking cars almost a year ago, when the company explained that they were not intended to ever make it to public sale. Their purpose is to see how people respond to a next-generation driverless car before later seeking partners to actually bring the technology to market.

We learned earlier this week that Google’s existing Lexus fleet has been involved in three low-speed accidents, none of them the fault of the car, but the company still isn’t taking any chances in this latest phase …  expand full story

Google autonomous car Stories March 25, 2015

Google may be planning to equip driverless cars with external airbags, protecting pedestrians

While Google’s driverless cars have notched-up over 700,000 miles without causing a single crash (one car was rear-ended and another crashed while being driven manually), it seems Google plans to cover all the bases. It has today been granted a patent on external cushioning to protect pedestrians in a collision.

External airbags are not a new invention–as Quartz notes, Volvo already has these on some vehicles. Google’s patent takes the idea a stage further, combining bumper-mounted airbags with foam bumpers behind them. The idea is to ensure that after the airbag has deployed, pedestrians aren’t then bounced off the car body.

A system for protecting a pedestrian during impact with a vehicle, the system having a bumper adapted for attachment to an end of the vehicle, wherein the bumper is comprised of a plurality of air sacs, wherein the bumper has a horizontal thickness extends from the end of the vehicle, wherein at least some of the plurality of air sacs stretch and then burst during impact between the bumper and a pedestrian causing deceleration along the horizontal width of the bumper during the impact, wherein the bumper undergoes plastic deformation during impact with the pedestrian as the at least some of the air sacs burst during impact, and wherein the bursting of some of the plurality of air sacs reduces spring back of the bumper on the pedestrian.

Given likely nervousness about the idea of driverless cars, Google may also be thinking about ways to reassure both the public and regulatory authorities.

Google isn’t the only tech giant exploring autonomous cars: Apple is believed to be working on its own version too.

Via Engadget

Google autonomous car Stories September 8, 2014

Google has shown off its winning entry in an annual computer vision challenge whose entrants include both academic institutions and industry labs, and made its work available to other researchers.

In this year’s challenge, team GoogLeNet tasks, doubling the quality on both tasks over last year’s results. The team participated with an open submission, meaning that the exact details of its approach are shared with the wider computer vision community to foster collaboration and accelerate progress in the field …

Google cites its self-driving cars as one of the obvious applications of the technology. expand full story

Google autonomous car Stories September 1, 2014

Google’s self-driving cars may have notched up 700,000 accident-free miles without anyone needing to press the big red Stop button, but project director Chris Urmson’s personal deadline to have the cars on sale to the public is still five years away, reports the MIT’s Technology Review.

Most tech-heads know that the cars rely on inch-perfect modelling of the specific streets they will use, the cars unable to drive anywhere else, but the piece revealed that this is just one of the challenges ahead …  expand full story

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