Google's self-driving car tested in Mountain View

Google's self-driving car has been further tested on the roads of Mountain View, with its software being developed each day to deal with new hazards.

Chris Urmson, the director, of Google's self-driving car project wrote in a blog post that its fleet of cars has logged around 70,000 miles on the streets since the company last gave an update of the project and the company has been busy tweaking the car's software to deal with thousands of everyday objects including "pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn."

The software has also been developed to predict what will happen on the roads, including the car in front stopping at a red light, or jumping the red light.

Urmson said: "A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can'tand it never gets tired or distracted."

"We still have lots of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously."

The Google self-drive car project was announced in 2010 with the goal to, "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use."

The cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to navigate around hazards and the sophisticated software is now starting to predict what will happen and react to dangers at any time.

Driverless cars aren't just sticking to the streets of California though. Last year, the Automotive Council announced it would be trialling driverless cars much closer to home, in Milton Keynes. A joint study with Cambridge University and engineering firm Arup will see 100 driverless cars hit the Buckinghamshire town's streets as part of the Automotive Council's five-year project, set to cost 65 million.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.