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Google’s Self-Driving Cars Complete 300,000 Miles

The Google self-driving Prius surpassed the 300,000 miles test run together with other cars in Google’s fleet, including a the Lexus RX450h hybrid.

Some experts and analysts would consider the endeavor of the giant tech company as perhaps the most audacious experiments for Google so far.

The team in charge is pleased to announce that the cars are now safe and ready to hit the road for every day use. There are about a dozen of such cars in the fleet. The team had to work hard to reach such success, based on the cars collective odometer that reaches over 300,000 miles.

Convincing people that robotic vehicles are safe is a challenging goal for Google employees. Google engineer says: “…we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter.”  The Mountain View, California area does not have all the challenges for a real test run however.

A self-driving car is not all automatic all the way as it can be driven manually by the passenger in case of emergency. It can be ridden by two persons but Google allows one commuter every trip as well.

Even if it was announced that the self-driving car is now safe the same robotic cars don’t have exactly an excellent tract record due to some accidents. The self-driving car made news in the past year when it rear-ended another car. However, it was claimed that the accident happened due to human error, after the driver switched to manual mode to take over.

The Lexus RX450h is the latest addition of self-driving car added a few months ago.

Before Sebastian Thrun declared that robotic cars are safe and can possibly minimize the vehicle accidents around the world by half,

the Census Bureau of the United States recorded 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents in the 2009 that resulted to 36,000 deaths. Safety concerns are still an on-going concerns as these robotic cars lack the necessary testing in more challenging terrains. And even more difficult terrain to cross perhaps is the time when one has to give up control when the car is speeding at 60 miles per hour.

The employees of Google put some effort to it by showing to people that robotic cars are safe by sharing their own experience and videos through YouTube. PR progress is just as important as technical progress so it will just be a matter of time before the people will warm up to the idea.

source: forbes