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The Trick That Makes Google's Self-Driving Cars Work

The Trick That Makes Google s Self Driving Cars Work Alexis C Madrigal The Atlantic


Google has created a virtual world out of the streets their engineers have driven. They pre-load the data for the route into the car's memory before it sets off, so that as it drives, the software knows what to expect. 

"Rather than having to figure out what the world looks like and what it means from scratch every time we turn on the software, we tell it what the world is expected to look like when it is empty," Chatham continued. "And then the job of the software is to figure out how the world is different from that expectation. This makes the problem a lot simpler."

While it might make the in-car problem simpler, but it vastly increases the amount of work required for the task. A whole virtual infrastructure needs to be built on top of the road network!

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It makes sense to start with a model and look for differences, rather than start from scratch every time.

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