Blog

Google's Mean Streets

Chris McMahon
Insurance Experts' Forum, April 29, 2014

Having mastered the freeways of California, Google’s self-driving cars now are driving themselves in some of the congested city streets of Mountain View, Calif., maneuvering challenges such as unpredictable pedestrians and cyclists, double-parked delivery vehicles and parking lots, the company said.

Google’s self-driving cars now have logged 700,000 autonomous miles, proof that Google is even closer to having a significant impact on the insurance industry. “With every passing mile we’re growing more optimistic that we’re heading toward an achievable goal—a vehicle that operates fully without human intervention,” said Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car project.

See also: Research Brief: Google Edging Nearer to Insurers

“A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area,” said Urmson. “We’ve improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously—pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn.”

While all those other moving objects make avoidance more challenging for people, Urmson said its self-driving car is able to detect hundreds of different and moving objects simultaneously and brings several disciplines to the challenge that frequently are lacking in people: patience and concentration. “A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t—and it never gets tired or distracted,” Urmson said.

See also: 5 Reasons Insurers Should Keep Tabs on Google

In his most recent blog entry, Urmson intimated the importance that Google Maps play in the success of the Google car, mentioning that the company is teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before it attempts another town.

Comments (2)

Correction to the previons post...

Very interesting how the Google's self-driving cars is avoiding objects, bicycles, pedestrians... What about if there is an accident, a police car, an ambulance or a fire truck on the side of the road... Will the Google's self-driving cars able to change lane to respect the MOVE OVER LAW were applicable?

Posted by: Marc L | April 29, 2014 1:46 PM

Report this Comment


Very interesting how the Google's self-driving cars is avoiding objects, bicycles, pedestrians... What about if there is a accident, a police car, an ambulance or a fire truck on the side of the road... Will the Google's self-driving cars able to change lane to respect the > were applicable?

Posted by: Marc L | April 29, 2014 1:43 PM

Report this Comment

Add Your Comments...

Already Registered?

If you have already registered to Insurance Networking News, please use the form below to login. When completed you will immeditely be directed to post a comment.

Forgot your password?

Not Registered?

You must be registered to post a comment. Click here to register.

Blog Archive

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Of Enterprise BI

When IT can't deliver, business users build their own applications focusing on agility, flexibility and reaction times.

The IT-Savvy 10%

IBM survey reveals best practices of IT leaders.

The Software-Defined Health Insurer: Radical But Realistic?

Can a tech startup digitally assemble the pieces of a comprehensive, employer-provided health plan?

Data Governance in Insurance Carriers

As the insurance industry moves into a more data-centric world, data governance becomes more critical for ensuring the data is consistent, reliable and usable for analysis.

Fear This

Just days before this Issue, which contains our security cover story, went to press, we got some interesting news: 1.2 billion unique usernames and passwords and 542 million email addresses were reportedly stolen from 420,000 websites, according to The New York Times. The websites ranged from Fortune 500 companies down to small online retailers.

Should You Back Up Enterprise Data to the Cloud?

Six questions that need to be asked before signing on with an outside service.