• Apr 5th 2011 at 1:02PM
  • 31
Google Driverless Car – Click above to view video after the jump

Sebastien Thurn has made it his life's work to save one million lives from traffic accidents. Thurn has been instrumental in the development of Google's DARPA Challenge-winning driverless car technology at Stanford University, and he's confident that his technology can not only save lives, but eliminate traffic jams.

Thurn's footage of a driverless Toyota Prius is nothing short of incredible, showing the cars successfully navigating deserts, highways and city streets clogged with traffic and pedestrians. So far, the driverless car's most impressive journey has been from San Francisco to Los Angeles down Highway One.

Beyond just city and highway driving, Thurn has provided footage of the driverless Prius and a driverless Volkswagen Passat successfully navigating an autocross-style cones course, proving these cars can handle a wide range of driving styles. The cars function by employing a series of sensors to detect their environment, and use a computer program to respond to what's going on around them.

Thurn was on hand at this year's TED Conference to discuss the idea and show footage from 140,000 miles of driverless car tests conducted by Stanford. The TED Conference serves as a forum for innovative ideas, publishing video seminars and ideas year round, and hosting two in-person conferences per year. The foundation has been holding conferences and publishing content on a creative commons license since 1990. Check out the video after the jump.

[Source: YouTube]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      The only way to effectively eliminate driving hazards, traffic jams, crime, fatal disease, war, drug abuse, home violence, dirty politics, unfair incomes and all other nuisances is to eliminate humans.

      • 4 Years Ago
      Eventually all cars will be hands free and feet free but for starters crash preventive technologies are a great plus to have inside your car.
      A Boeing 747 could land on autopilot and I bet the space shuttle could do it. Machines that are much more complicated and precious. That means that humans are more than capable to put in computer code and hardware to handle bug free and operate our cars.
      I am not asking why it shouldn't be in our cars I am asking what took them so long to start playing with the idea. Lots of tests will be performed and years would pass but that's the future.
      I am just wondering at what point do we stop with all this technology facilitating our lives. At one point we would look like a bunch of potatoes sitting doing nothing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You seriously under estimate the technology.
      The videos show the car driving busy highways, under construction interchange, curvy and narrow mountain road with an approaching truck, busy city streets with under construction lanes.

      Driving yourself could be fun for a while. It could be a grueling task if you drive long distance on a boring highway, or low speed-limit country road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Driving won't be fun in a car with 1L engine. You'll probably have small car for commute and an Ariel Atom next to it for driving.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Listen to the words he uses "Human Error", "wasted", "ridiculous that humans are driving cars".

      This guy is so consumed with guilt for his friend he wants to take my freedom to drive away.

      F* Him!!!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow. Scary over-reaction there. Why are you angry at this guy? He is only developing cool new technology. He is creating options. Take your fight to the lawmakers. There's no way that lawmakers would ever make this mandatory in the near future, but if it starts showing up in production cars, voice your opinion to your representative. And keep the violence to yourself.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, he'll give you the option of drinking and driving and you can take a nap while driving to work. Building this car would be so much simpler if we could take away the right to drive - we could replace roads with railways and leave the driving to computers. The hard part is to make a computer work with human drivers.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What's this "give me" the option. I'm not asking him nor you for anything. And in fact I react VIOLENTLY when people attempt to take rights away from me.

        But you know it's a right, you acknowledged as much.

        So I stand by my F* him. And to that I'll add an F* YOU too.
      Marty Kassowitz
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am so looking forward to this technology being the norm. I've got many other things I'd rather do when "driving" other than being the car's guidance, proximity sensing, velocity control computer. Here's a view of how car design might change if we didn't have to focus on "driving" as the primary function: http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2009/12/a-unique-solution-to-traffic-the-driverless-car/
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd LOVE for my car to drive itself through Austin traffic, but i do think it should have an on/off switch so you can drive the car sometimes.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Make it like autopilot button, and I'll hit it to enjoy my coffee. Hit it again to enjoy driving. perfect sense.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For many people driving a car is more than just getting from point A to point B but I can see this as being useful for those that can't/shouldn't/don't want to drive e.g. elderly, DUI, etc.

      However, I could also see this crowding highways with people that might have otherwise had to take public transportation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Human error happens, when the training was totally crap!! Learn to drive, and errors start going away.

      If ever, we started to have machines like this (which by the way is quite awesome, in terms of technology), and the government made it some kind of a mandatory rule, I would be an outlaw!

      • 4 Years Ago
      what happens when it gets on a road where the lines have been worn off?
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's a bit more intelligent than that. The DARPA desert race did not have any lines on roads.
        • 4 Years Ago
        it starts screaming the N word : )
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would like to point out that there is a mistake in this article. Stanford DID NOT WIN that challenge. They came in second. The Carnegie Mellon University Tartan Racing Tahoe, named Boss, finished the course 20 minutes faster than the Standford vehicle. The Stanford vehicle happened to leave the starting line about 30 minutes before the CMU Tahoe, therefore getting to the finish line 10 minutes before. Just thought you should all know that...
        • 4 Years Ago
        See, the thing is, it doesn't specify in the article WHICH challenge, and the article is talking about cars driving in the streets. hence why my assumption is that he is talking about the Urban challenge. But if Thurn didn't work on that challenge, this would make more sense. Either way, a few of the major project coordinators at Stanford have connections back here to CMU. They took our ideas with them hehe j/k.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The first successful DARPA challenge (meaning, the first year where a competitor crossed the finish line and met all the requirements), was won by Stanford. (I don't remember what the name of the challenge was). The next year, Carnegie Mellon won the challenge, and I believe Stanford came in 2nd.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, that is correct. Stanford won the Darpa Grand Challenge, but not the Urban Challenge.
      • 4 Years Ago
      OK Guys, the future is here. Time for us all to go home.
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