The Google Driverless (or Self-Driving) Car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for autonomous vehicles using software called, “Google Chauffeur.”
The driverless cars can be identified by lettering on their sides that identify them as “self-driving” cars. Google engineer, Sebastian Thrun, has spearheaded the project, which involves about $150,000 of equipment, including a $70,000 lidar (light radar) system. A Velodyne 64-beam laser allows the self-driving vehicle to generate a detailed 3D map of its environment. Combining these maps with high-resolution maps of the world, the car produces different types of data models that allow it to drive itself.
In June 2011, Nevada passed a law permitting the operation of autonomous cars, followed by Florida and California in 2012. Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain also allow testing robotic cars in traffic. By April 2014, the Google team completed over 700,000 autonomous-driving miles accident-free. In May 2014, Google unveiled a new prototype of its driverless car, which has no steering wheel, gas pedal, or brakes.