Google cars drive themselves

Google has been developing cars that drive themselves.

According to an engineer at the firm, Sebastian Thrun, Google's goal, "is to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use."

He explained: "Our automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. They’ve driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe.

"All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. We think this is a first in robotics research," he said.

The cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to 'see' other traffic, as well as detailed maps to navigate the road ahead, Trun said, claiming it is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

It seems likely that Google's future-generation Street View cars will drive themselves around the globe snaffling up as much data as they can.

And Google will likely worm its way out of charges of illegal snooping by blaming driver error.