Saturday, May 31, 2014

Where Google trains its drivers not to drive

During a recent visit to Google headquarters in Mountain View , Calif. campus , I have an idea of ​​what the future of " undriving ' might look like.


As Google reveals plans for unmanned vehicles to build yourself , Jack Stewart gets a glimpse into the robot driving school business .

I had access to the team behind self-propelled vehicle from the search giant program . Part of Google X , the company's research branch semi - secret , the crew is hiding the public eye . I was there to find out what is required to use this technology and how it feels to be a test pilot of Google ; a back seat to the vehicle computers , even when he was behind the wheel .

It was an interesting time to see how the unmanned vehicles are ready for the road. Today Google announced plans to begin building their own vehicles , instead of relying on other manufacturers . Until now , Google has been installed in existing technology driverless cars like the Toyota Prius and Lexus RX450hs .

However, Google will own vehicles cute little city car with smiling faces , not threatening , and pedestrian crash characteristics . The reasoning of the company is that if your car will be autonomous, it is not necessary to follow conventional designs .

Although the new cars from Google have been designed to make long strips and pedals refrain top Google wants cars fit specific controls of man , which can be connected and layered on top of self-control , so that cars can be safely tested on public roads . They will be very similar to traveling in the car with a steering wheel and pedals as human driver to take over .


New prototype of an unmanned vehicle was unveiled today by Google ( Google )
They can not touch the main part of a disk , the controls but still have to be here, should still remain alert, scanning the road for their mistakes of independent directors .

Ultimately it is a success as the trips are as uncomplicated as possible . "During the trip, which is fine if it's boring, because it means that it is safe," said Brian Torcellini , chief test pilot of Google and the man responsible for the formation of other drivers not to drive . He is a member of the team since 2009 , and was one of the first pilots of autonomous vehicles .

Current fleet of Google - a few dozen cars - live the base for Google in Mountain View. The Google test pilots can not take it home . The early blue Toyota Prius vehicles are replaced with bright white Lexus SUV . They are easy to recognize; with a laser scanner rather rude on the roof , and the company logo in the primary colors on the side.

" Pilots check in, as anyone would do in the morning , " says Torcellini . " They take the car out , a number of tests , and then go back and check the car out and loads the data . "

Trained by the ends

Google Leads must learn to let the machine do the driving - but are also encouraged to be very careful about the ability of the vehicle to be . If you are ever the least bit uncomfortable with the way the team lead feel, they are told to immediately wrest control away with the press of a pedal or turn the steering wheel . Then engineers can gather information from computers and simulate and extrapolate what the car had . The comparison between the hypothetical human intervention and action can be used to improve the software of the car.

Although they are supposed to be careful, the directors are also trained by the ends . Take cars slalom and skid pans on a test track , to truly experience how they perform in the limit . These are conditions that are very unlikely to encounter , but the hope is that if they ice , such as computers will know how to respond.

"Most of the driving is not driving around cones " Torcellini says , " but we feel that the best thing to do is to educate our people . "


So what is it like to sit in a car driven by a computer? There is certainly no lateral sliding on curves in the day I was sitting in the back seat of an SUV Google , one of the first generation of vehicles throughout the company with the steering wheel .

It appears that one of the biggest challenges for the car starts to hit the road ; drivers should allow the checks to our negotiate the parking lot to hear the soothing female tone of the advertisement " car driving" which tells us that taking over the team away.

" Making History "

"Many of the parking lots , in some way , are more complicated than the street ," said Alyssa , the safety controller . Often there are no proper road markings , and are full of people running in all directions and obstacles such as shopping carts . It 's the kind of busy human driving environment with heavy danger can handle , instinctively , but that might be a computer. Less obvious to

The crew also helps refine the software of the car, keeping the driving experience , updated on a laptop in the passenger seat . "We are constantly leaving comments about little things that we think might be softer and more human-like ," says Alyssa . Trials are essential to the heart of how you feel the trip for the passengers and the people around them . The goal is to driving the car seems logical to integrate with other cars , good and not feel unstable or flickering .

The car accelerates at a fair pace , and faces other traffic , cyclists and pedestrians , as the camera phones , ready , seem to get . Digestion of us whiz Even in Silicon Valley , unmanned vehicles to draw attention in a way that an owner would envy Ferrari - something that both drivers are're used . "Many people have the idea that we have a really good job - and we do," says Loren . "This is history in the making, and it's great to be a part of. "

The board Torcellini if you drive a car without a job of steering sense? "We are looking for people with common sense , " he says. It can be difficult to determine in a sit -down interview on the recruitment process is multistage , and includes an interview of driving . The process is difficult, but as the company expands fleet as ambitious as Google suggests further notice , one thing is clear . It will be a need for more human drivers test before we fully computer controlled cars in the world .

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