Would you ride in a car with no driver? Children look inside the self-driving car at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California (AP photos/Getty Images)
Would you ride in a car with no driver?
Lexile

Google is trying to make a self-driving car. But despite progress over the past year, the cars have plenty of learning to do before 2017, when the tech giant hopes to get the technology to the public. Others believe it's more likely to take until 2025 to purchase one of the cars.

Google's self-driving cars already can navigate freeways. Human drivers would be expected to take control if the computer fails. Eventually, Google says, there would be no need for a driver. Passengers could read, daydream, even sleep or work while the car drives.

For now, Google is focused on the predictably common tasks of city driving.

To deal with cyclists, engineers have taught the software to predict likely behavior. The software plots the car's path accordingly then reacts if something unexpected happens.

While the car knows to stop, just when to start again is still a challenge, partly because the cars are programmed to drive defensively. At a four-way stop, Google's cars have been known to wait in place as other cars edge out into the intersection.

The cars still need human help with other problems. Among them, understanding the gestures that drivers give one another to signal it's OK to merge or change lanes, turning right on red and driving in rain or fog (which requires more sophisticated sensors).

Critical thinking challenge: Why are more sophisticated sensors required for understanding the gestures that drivers give one another to signal it's OK to merge or change lanes?

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COMMENTS (66)
  • Kaden_11
    4/30/2014 - 11:42 a.m.

    I think it would be cool if this project will work. But if their is failures while the car is traveling, and wrecks and have killed people?

  • JamesRoe-Lar
    4/30/2014 - 11:49 a.m.

    I would not want to ride in a car that was not being driven by a actuall person. What if this car is in an acident, who is liable, the technology or the person that bought the car. I just thinkt that it is crazy that all these things from movies are actually becoming true.

  • Sarah H
    4/30/2014 - 01:25 p.m.

    I think it would be nice and cool to ride in a car without a driver. You could do whatever you want to before you get to your destination. I'm hoping they figure out the stopping and starting thing. But, I would also be scared that if a car got too close this car might do something that isn't figured into the programing of the car.

  • Destinee P
    4/30/2014 - 01:33 p.m.

    I would absolutely not ride in this car. This is a bad idea. There could be a lot of things wrong with this car that could cause car wrecks. I am against this one hundred percent.

  • Lindsay C
    4/30/2014 - 01:53 p.m.

    I do not think that a self driving car is safe at all. It anything would go wrong with the technology in the car, many people could die or become very injured.

  • brynnd
    4/30/2014 - 01:57 p.m.

    I think that it would be cool. But it would be very dangerous. Many accidents would occur. How does Google know for sure that the car would work like that. It is a scary thought.

  • Alexbice7
    4/30/2014 - 02:16 p.m.

    If they got it flawless it would be awesome, but there are so many things that can go wrong and I think it would be a bad idea to be in the car of one of those.

  • vashon1999
    4/30/2014 - 02:48 p.m.

    I think it will be great if this project would work, it would be like a SIRI car. The car would be worth a lot of money in the future.

  • anthonyb0424
    4/30/2014 - 04:17 p.m.

    I wouldn't ride in the car until a couple of years after it has released. I say this because anything can happen with this newly developed car. It could have not been tested well and crash at any point of time.

  • HaileySa
    4/30/2014 - 09:30 p.m.

    I don't think I would drive in one of these cars. One reasoning is the computer could shut down and stop working at any time, which could interfere with other operations of the car. Also, I just wouldn't feel comfortable riding in a car with someone else who is not actually driving the car manually. From the article, I'm not really sure I really am a fan of these cars.

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