Google Director Wants Autonomous Cars in 5 Years For 'His Son'

Mar 20, 2015 06:33 PM EDT | Matt Mercuro


The director of Google's self-driving cars is dedicated to making sure driverless vehicles are standard within five years so his 11-year-old son doesn't have to take a driver's test.

"My team are committed to making sure that (driver's test) doesn't happen," Google's Chris Urmson said during the TED 2015 conference in Vancouver this week, according to the BBC.

He also provided a layout of Google's commitment to fully automated vehicles.

Some companies have decided to slowly introduce driver-assisted functions in vehicles in hopes that the technology will win over those who don't believe driverless cars are a good idea.

Google is taking its time to make a vehicle that couple revolutionize the way we get around. A prototype of its own car, revealed last December, doesn't even have a steering wheel or conventional controls for early testing. Extra controls will be added so that drivers can drive the Google vehicle if a problem occurs.

Traffic jams and accidents and are other factors motivating Urmson and his team to get the technology out as soon as possible.

"Some 1.2 million people are killed on the roads around the world each year. That number is equivalent to a jet falling out of the sky every day," Urmson said, according to NBC News.

Google has put its self-driving cars through more than 700,000 miles of on road testing since the project was started in 2009. Currently, the company is logging in 2 million miles in simulators daily, in addition to the real-world tests.

Two years ago, 100 employees were given Google's prototype to test them out on public roads. The company is monitoring how the vehicle handles difficult situations, like traffic zone lane closures, a bike running through a red light and a woman in a motorized wheelchair chasing after ducks.

"There is nowhere in the handbook about how to deal with that situation," he said, according to the BBC.

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