Not content in ruling the information superhighway, Google is moving closer to dominating real roads by, yesterday, winning a patent that advances its Google Car self-drive capabilities. The new patent enables a robot within the car to automatically read and interpret road signs and other oncoming obstacles.
Europcar, the leading in car hire services in Europe, with its own focus on mobility welcomes this news and looks forward to the benefits it may bring to driver safety as Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group explained:
“This is a really exciting time to be living in, with these sorts of developments making concepts that would have been laughed at a few years ago a real possibility in the near future. At Europcar we have always been first to embrace new technology – and I am personally excited by the prospect of having Google do the driving for me!”
As well as reading road signs, Google’s new development enables the Google Car to follow any diversions that have been put in place, check for oncoming vehicles and identify and avoid any unexpected obstacles. This will be made possible following Google’s acquisition of social mapping company Waze, in a speculated $1.3billion deal last June that provides Google with the real-time traffic and accident information needed to enhance the Google Car. During test runs of the car, Google has announced that its driverless vehicles have travelled 300,000 miles autonomously without incident.
“Although it’s fun to step in the realms of the future with the possibility of unmanned vehicles, there is a serious side too” added Ken McCall. “This innovation could ease some of the doubts about the safety of driverless technology, thereby increasing the likelihood it will happen.
“Who knows what the future will bring for our roads, but whatever it does, you can be sure Europcar will be watching closely and identifying where it can bring real mobility benefits for our customers.”