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Company honchos have a passion for a driver-less future

Google AI-driven cars do 1,000 miles in traffic

Google has reportedly been testing self-driving cars which use artificial intelligence instead of a human driver.

The New York Times reported that the secret Google project has featured cars with someone behind the wheel in case something goes wrong. Seven test cars, Toyota Prius models, with a driver and a technician to monitor the navigation, have apparently driven a 1,000 miles.

Despite being tested on the legendary twisty and steep Lombard Street in San Francisco, made famous with the inclusion in the film Bullitt, Google said that the only accident was the test car being rear-ended at a traffic light.

The project is reportedly the work of Sebastian Thrun, a director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Google engineer. Thrun is also the co-inventor of Google Street View.

The company apparently does not have a plan for what commercial service might eventually appear from the experiments but Thrun is known to have previously advocated the use of robotic vehicles to reduce energy consumption, speed transit times and even improve road safety.

The New York Times said that this was a vision also shared by Google co-founder Larry Page.

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