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Ted 2015: Google Boss Wants Self-Drive Cars 'for Son'


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The view from Google's self-driving car and its computer during tests.

The director of Google's self-driving car project said he want self-driving cars to be standard on roads within five years, before his son is old enough to take his first driving test.

Credit: Google

Speaking at a TED conference session entitled "Machines that Learn," Chris Urmson, the director of Google's self-driving car project, told delegates his team wants self-driving cars to be standard on roads within five years.

Urmson explained his son will be old enough to take his first driving test in four-and-a-half years and "my team are committed to making sure that doesn't happen."

During his presentation, Urmson discussed Google's aim to create and promote fully autonomous vehicles that do not feature a steering wheel or conventional controls, even as automakers have moved away from that idea and embraced autonomous driving technology in the form of new driver-assist technologies. Urmson shared several examples of unprecedented situations encountered by Google's test cars, such as a child driving a remote-controlled toy car into the roadway, in which the test cars were able to respond appropriately by slowing down or stopping.

Urmson said fully autonomous vehicles will do more to cut down on traffic and, more importantly, on traffic accidents than cars using only some autonomous features.

Other topics discussed at the session included advances in computer vision and the potential dangers posed by artificial intelligence.

From BBC News
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