In case you may not know, ‘Stanley’ is a fully automated SUV which was submitted to America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) several years ago in response to a request for such a technology.
The SUV made history to complete the qualifying event accident free and eventually be the first vehicle to complete the 132 DARPA Grand Challenge course back in 2005. It’s currently sitting in the Smithsonian Museum for visitors to see it as the start of a legacy.
9 years later, Google made a prototype in May, where the car has no steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and not even brake pedals. Just two empty seats in a gondola, with wheels.
The leader of the team responsible for the prototype is Sebastian Thrun of Stanford University, the same person who won the DARPA Challenge with ‘Stanley’ in 2005.
With its current development, Google claims that the technology will be able to reduce road injuries and deaths, and they are going to build a hundred prototypes to see if they can work with the manual controls.
Just a few days ago, Chinese tech website Techweb reported that the local IT giant Baidu will be developing an autonomous car as well. They are currently at a very primitive stage where it is being developed behind closed doors.
The prototype is equipped with road signs recognition, vehicle data transmission, radar, cameras and GPS. Together with real time sensors, all the owner needs to do is to input the location and the car will be on the road on its own.
What is more amazing is that it is able to recognize the owner of the vehicle and will possibly be the vehicle’s security system.
The Baidu correspondent has confirmed this claim, and has also added that the road tests will commence this year. It’s quite surprising that they did not respond to whether the prototype had the control systems removed like Google’s autonomous car.
This technology is definitely something to look forward to and will help save precious time in commuting to and from work.