Posts Tagged ‘google’
Google received approval in California for road testing of it’s self-driving car this week. Gov. Brown signed the “autonomous-vehicles bill” or SB 1298, into law at the Google headquarters. So what does a self-driving car look and drive like? Here’s a great demonstration via CNN.
In what seems like a prediction from Back to The Future, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has predicted that a majority of cars one the road in 2040 will be driven autonomously. They’re basing their forecast on technology from GM, Audi, BMW, Stanford University, Google, and Toyota.
The timeline for autonomous cars hitting the road en masse keeps getting closer. GM’s Cadillac division expects to produce partially autonomous cars at a large scale by 2015, and the automaker also predicts it will have fully autonomous cars available by the end of the decade. Audi and BMW have also shown self-driving car concepts, with the former working with Stanford to pilot a modified TT up Pikes Peak. Meanwhile, Google is ripping along at its own rapid pace with a fleet of fully autonomous Toyota Prius hybrids that have logged over 300,000 miles. And the company has pushed through legislation that legalizes self-driving cars in Nevada. California is close behind, and Google has also been busy lobbying joyriding lawmakers in Washington, D.C.
But while we know that robo-cars are coming, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) recently released predictions that autonomous cars will account for up to 75 percent of vehicles on the road by the year 2040. The organization went even further, forecasting how infrastructure, society and attitudes could change when self-driving cars become the norm around the middle of the century.
IEEE envisions an absence of traffic signs and lights since highly evolved, self-driving cars won’t need them, and it believes that full deployment could even eliminate the need for driver’s licenses.
While this all sounds sci-fi, we’re already starting to see separate threads of this autonomous-car future being weaved in current real-world tests.
It’s been assumed that the largest hurdle for autonomous cars is building the infrastructure. Not so, says Dr. Alberto Broggi, IEEE senior member and professor of computer engineering at the University of Parma in Italy. Broggi, the director of a 2010 project that successfully piloted two driverless cars on an 8,000-mile road trip from Parma to Shanghai, points out that two current types of self-driving cars will need less infrastructure, not more.
“The Google cars are based on very precise maps and they have sensing primarily based on a LIDAR technology,” he told Wired. “The cars that we tested on the route from Parma to Shanghai had no maps, and had sensing primarily based on cameras. In both cases, the cars have no help from the infrastructure.” CNN, 18 Sep 2012.
Read more about the predictions on CNN.
Scott Pitman, a Wichita, Kansas dealer, faced an online nightmare after Google arbitrarily deleted a large majority of his business’s Google+ Local reviews leaving them with only nine negative reviews. In all, almost 400 reviews, mostly positive, were deleted without notice, explanation, or chance to appeal.
“Google believes it can do whatever it wants and has no accountability,” said Pitman, whose store in Wichita, Kan., is Suzuki’s top-selling U.S. dealership.
Google also unilaterally deleted all but a handful of customer reviews from the Google+ Local pages of Fisher Auto Inc. in Boulder, Colo.; North End Motors, a used-car dealer in Canton, Mass. — and, by Google’s own admission, numerous other dealerships.
The Internet giant — which since has restored some of the reviews — offers no detailed explanation of why or how it did what it did. But the company said in a statement provided to Automotive News that it seeks to prevent “spammy” content, even at the risk of sometimes removing legitimate reviews.
“We know this is frustrating when it happens but believe that overall, these measures help everyone by ensuring that the reviews appearing on Google+ Local are authentic, relevant, and useful,” the statement said. Google declined to elaborate.
Pitman’s experience underlines both the marketing power and the pitfalls of Google. The Internet behemoth is connecting dealerships with a growing portion of their customers — but dealers have far less control over Google’s interactive features than they do over traditional advertising media.
The three stores said their reviews are legitimate, obtained by requests over several months to sales and service customers. They are at a loss to explain why Google cut them and have failed to get Google to discuss specifics.
The three have filed separate complaints about their treatment with the Federal Trade Commission. Pitman said he isn’t optimistic that the complaints will move Google. Auto News, 27 August 2012.
Pittman and his staff have started rebuilding their online profile and reviews by rallying customers to write new reviews. It’s worked. His rating is back up to 27 out of 30 with 55 reviews.
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