HOW DOES GOOGLE’S AUTONOMOUS CAR WORK?

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Google’s prototype two-seater
‘bubble’ cars have buttons to begin
and end the drive, but no other
controls.

An on-board computer uses data
from sensors, including radar, a
laser and cameras, to make turns
and negotiate its way around
pedestrians and other vehicles.
Under the vision unveiled by
Google, passengers might set their
destination by typing it into a map
or using commands.

The cars are also expected to be
electric, capable of going 100 miles
(160 km) before needing to be
recharging.

The front of the vehicle has a soft
foam-like material where a
traditional bumper would be and a
more flexible windscreen, in an
attempt to be safer for
pedestrians.

The prototypes are restricted to
speeds of 25mph (40 km/h) and
the ability to self-drive will depend
on specifically designed Google
road maps tested on the
company’s current fleet of vehicles.

But ultimately the vehicles will be
faster and will be able to use
Google’s extended maps service,
using GPS technology to locate the
vehicle’s exact position on an
electronic map.

A combination of radar, lasers and
cameras sitting on top of the roof
give the car a 360-degree ‘view’,
with sensors linked to computer
software able to ‘see’ and identify
people, cars, road signs and
markings and traffic lights.

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