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Google’s Self-driving Car

Google_Self-Driving_Prototype__1_

Six years in the making, Google’s self-driving vehicle is an impressive feat but still needs some improvement before it is ready for the public. Recently, the company held a test drive event for press to witness exactly what this vehicle can do.

The prototype’s appearance may be lackluster, but this helps put the focus on the product’s talents. Compared to the sleek and aerodynamic structure of luxury vehicles today, this little, two-seater resembles more of a Roomba (it sounds like one too). It makes it difficult to see how this a visionary example of the future, but let’s go over the details to see what exactly this guy can do.  

With the use of camera, radars and laser sensors, the vehicle can effortlessly avoid colliding with other vehicles and people. During the trial event, passengers entered into the car and found no steering wheel or pedals. Instead, they pressed the “Go” button, and from there the car did the rest of the work. Though the car maxed out at 15 mph, it went through a series of tests avoiding obstacles.

First, a Google worker stepped in front of the vehicle, and it slowed down and allowed him to pass before continuing on. Next, another vehicle rode up alongside the Google car, and it proceeded to slow down to make sure they did not collide. A bicycler did something similar and again, the car slowed. Though all the reactions were the same, the car can analyze exactly what is around it.

The project’s chief engineer commented, “We look at the world around us, and we detect objects in the scene, we categorize them as different types.”

Perhaps, many were looking for something more eye-catching or something to make them gasp, but this technology is still impressive and ahead of all the competition. Other automakers’ focus has not been on the car as a whole but only on safety features such as automatic braking.

Four years from now, Google hopes to have perfected the self-driving vehicle and to be selling it to the masses.

Though there have been no definite plans, most believe Google will sell their software instead of manufacturing their own cars. Unfortunately, we have some time to wait but when it’s ready, it will be just another ground-breaking innovation from Google.

Info courtesy of Wired.

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Posted in Future, Tech Hardware, Tech Software

6 New Tech Breakthroughs You Need To See!

There have been some very interesting technological breakthroughs over the past two weeks in everything from neuroscience to transportation. These new discoveries will change the way we interact with each other and the world around us. Here are 6 new technology breakthroughs that you need to know about.

1) Transportation

The first self-driving bus hit the roads in China. The bus prototype, developed by Yutong, went on a 20 mile ride on an intercity road in Zhengzhou. The self-driving bus is equipped with two cameras, four laser radars, one set of millimeter wave radar and an integrated navigation system.

2) Communication

Skype is releasing their real-time translation feature that will allow you to hold a conversation in any of the following languages without actually needing to know a word: English, French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish. The application will support another 50 languages through normal chat.

3) Neuroscience

Researchers at the University of Washington, experimenting with brain-to-brain connection, have found a way to transmit brain signals from one person to another. Via brain waves and the internet, participants were able to guess the correct answers to a given set of questions with impressive accuracy.

4) Material

An Italian engineering group has built a 12-meter tall 3D printer that can print houses cheaply using additive techniques. Automating building houses using this type of process could dramatically affect the way we provide shelter to those all around the world.  

5) Robotics

MIT researchers have developed a robotic hand that is capable of picking up an egg without breaking it. The robot uses soft 3D-printed fingers that are skilled at picking up even the most difficult objects, such as a coin or fragile egg.

6) Algorithms

The Japanese company, Hitachi, has begun testing a crime prediction algorithm to attempt to identify potential threats or crimes before they occur. The system gathers data from media, such as weather reports or social media, to find patterns using machine learning.

Are there any new technologies that you are particularly interested in? I would love to hear your thoughts. Send me a message or connect with me on Twitter!