Googleâ€™s Self-Driving Cars Still Face Many Obstacles
J Thoendell stashed this in Cars
Would you buy a self-driving car that couldnâ€™t drive itself in 99 percent of the country? Or that knew nearly nothing about parking, couldnâ€™t be taken out in snow or heavy rain, and would drive straight over a gaping pothole?
If your answer is yes, then check out the Google Self-Driving Car, model year 2014.
Among other unsolved problems, Google has yet to drive in snow, and Urmson says safety concerns preclude testing during heavy rains. Nor has it tackled big, open parking lots or multilevel garages. The carâ€™s video cameras detect the color of a traffic light; Urmson said his team is still working to prevent them from being blinded when the sun is directly behind a light. Despite progress handling road crews, â€śI could construct a construction zone that could befuddle the car,â€ť Urmson says.
Pedestrians are detected simply as moving, column-shaped blurs of pixelsâ€”meaning, Urmson agrees, that the car wouldnâ€™t be able to spot a police officer at the side of the road frantically waving for traffic to stop.
The carâ€™s sensors canâ€™t tell if a road obstacle is a rock or a crumpled piece of paper, so the car will try to drive around either. Urmson also says the car canâ€™t detect potholes or spot an uncovered manhole if it isnâ€™t coned off.
Urmson says these sorts of questions might be unresolved simply because engineers havenâ€™t yet gotten to them.
The big question I have is how soon these challenges of weather, parking, and humans can find good solutions.