Last year we reported on Google developing a self-driving car that uses artificial-intelligence software to sense anything near it and  makes decisions that would otherwise be made by the driver. Recently, Google finally decided to showcase their invention at the Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in Long Beach. They unveiled their self-driving ride – a Toyota Prius – and showed off its prowess by racing it around the roof of a parking lot.

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Google previously tested their car out on the open road where it drove 140,000 miles without any mishaps, however their latest tests made things considerably more challenging. Attendees at the conference were able to travel inside the car while it raced around a course that had been laid out on the roof of a parking lot.  Hardly a relaxing drive in the county, the car was programmed to speed around corners and drive aggressively.

Google software engineer Sebastian Thrun said the car could make split second decisions such as avoiding obstacles like deer that may venture into the road. He added that the technology could both double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely, but reduce carbon costs and fuel consumption by driving as efficiently as possible.

Other companies developing self-driving cars include SARTRE who are experimenting with a ‘car platoon’ concept.

Click here to see the car in action and here to see what it looked like from inside.

+ Google

Via PhysOrg