Friday, April 13, 2012

Google’s Self-Driving Golf Carts: Do You Want One for Yourself?

Self-driving cars aren’t exactly a good thing on the road. For one, it can cause life-threatening accidents not only to the driver but to the passengers and other people on the road as well. However, Google, with its ever-pioneering nature, started using self-driving golf carts within their property nearly two years, when they posted on their blog that several of their cars have already crossed the 140,000-mile mark. 

The World Health Organization reports that automobile accidents take around 1.2 million lives all the time and Google aims to cut this figure by half – with self-driving golf carts. Last year, Google co-founder Sergey Brin reported that their golf carts have now been driven for over 1,000 miles without the need for driver intervention. 

Today, employees can request the autonomous golf carts over the Internet and the cars arrive at the scheduled time, leaving the garage to pick up their passengers at the designated time and place. While on the road, passengers can focus on other things, such as their work, but they can also choose to drive the vehicle themselves. Upon arrival, the cars depart the location and passengers never have to worry a thing or two about tips and valets. 

The technology behind Google’s autonomous golf carts is a combination of GPS, radars, sensors, and wheel encoders for the most accurate location. GPS technology alone can be off the mark for a few meters and so Google equipped its Priuses with a 64-beam laser to create a 3D digital blueprint of their environment. This results to detailed mapping data that can even display pedestrian-heavy areas and stationary objects on the road. 

Of course, suffice it to say, Google protects its investments with high-quality golf cart covers. These autonomous golf carts are not cheap and covering it a golf cart cover is the wisest and most practical thing to do. Even Google can prove that. 

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