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Self-driving Cars. by Daniel Collins. Brief History of Self-Driving Cars. General Motors sponsored a self-driving car that was exhibited in the 1939 World Fair. In the 1980’s DARPA funded an Autonomous Land Vehicle that could follow roadways at speeds up to 30 km/h.

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Self-driving Cars

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self driving cars

Self-driving Cars

by Daniel Collins

brief history of self driving cars
Brief History of Self-Driving Cars
  • General Motors sponsored a self-driving car that was exhibited in the 1939 World Fair.
  • In the 1980’s DARPA funded an Autonomous Land Vehicle that could follow roadways at speeds up to 30 km/h.
  • GM currently has small self-driving, battery powered cars called EN-Vs in research and development.
sensor technology used in cars today
Sensor Technology Used in Cars Today
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Blind Spot Alerts
  • Active Cruise Control
  • Self-Parking Vehicles
google s view
Google’s View

“It’s a bug that cars were invented before computers. Your car should drive itself. It just makes sense.”

Eric Schmidt,

CEO of Google

google s self driving car background
Google’s Self-Driving Car Background
  • Brainchild of Sebastian Thrun
  • In 2005 the Stanley Car won the Second Grand Challenge of DARPA. The car drove 132 miles in the desert.
  • Licensed earlier this month for testing on Nevada’s streets.

Nevada’s Autonomous Vehicle License Plate

google s self driving car background cont d
Google’s Self-Driving Car Background cont’d
  • Cars have logged over 140,000 miles with limited driver assistance
  • Seven cars have each driven over 1,000 miles with no human intervention
  • 7-10 years from


  • Currently using 6 Prius’, an Audi TT, and a Lexus RX450H
  • Rotating cylinder on top of the car – called a Lidar
  • Video camera mounted to the rear-view mirror
  • Position estimator mounted to rear left wheel
  • 4 radar sensors – 3 mounted in the front, one in the rear
  • The hardware is in the trunk of the car
how it works
How it Works
  • Uses radar, laser technology, sensors, and imagery to navigate the car
    • Notifies the passengers when approaching a turn or crosswalk
    • To take control of the car, you simply turn the wheel, touch the brake, or press a red button
    • Follows GPS programmed route
    • Can be programmed to mimic personal driving styles
benefits of autonomous vehicles
Benefits of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Faster Reaction Times
  • 360° Vision
  • Wouldn’t Become Distracted or Sleepy
  • Doesn’t Speed
  • Eliminates Human Error
  • Reduces Number of Cars Needed
potential legal issues
Potential Legal Issues
  • Under current law, a human must be in control of a car at all times
  • Who would be responsible for a wreck, the driver, or the software?
  • What if a “driver” really wasn’t paying attention through a school zone, assuming the robot has it under control?
  • Despite these issues, Google has been licensed for testing in California and Nevada as long as a driver and engineer are present in the vehicle.
works cited
Works Cited
questions and answers
Questions and Answers
  • Where was Google’s Self-Driving Car recently licensed for testing?
    • Nevada
  • What does the rotating cylinder (Lidar) on top of Google’s Self-Driving Cars do?
    • Generates a 3D map of the surrounding environment
  • What are the benefits of self-driving cars?
    • 360° vision, faster reaction times, doesn’t become sleepy or distracted, eliminates human error, could reduce the number of cars needed, and allows cars to travel safely when closer together.