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Recode: Google Isn't Building A Self-Driving Car, It's Building The Driver


Anyone who says that Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its Google unit are building a self-driving car is technically wrong. In an interview with Recode, Google's head of self-driving technology Dmitri Dolgov suggested the company is taking its ambitions one step further and is building a driver.

According to Dolgov, driving is a social activity and a car has to interact with, understand and react to human behavior. As such, the company is placing a large emphasis on making sure a car can understand hand signals. For instance, a bicyclist signaling a lane change using their hand will be understood by the car in the same way a human would.

Naturally, the human element is removed from Google's self-driving car so it must incorporate maps, long-range lasers and radars and other technologies. Simultaneously, it must be aware of traffic lights, road conditions and other mundane tasks. On the other hand, robot cars, unlike humans, can learn new skills and share experiences across a cloud network with every other robot car on the road.

Like any good human driver, Google is confident its self-driving platform can work across any model and any car.

"It doesn't matter," Dolgov said. "We're building a driver. We've been on Prius, Lexus; we have our own prototype, and we're now working with Fiat Chryslers on a new platform.

He added that the "core tasks transfer" across different cars but as far as the software is concerned, "it's the same thing."


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