Google’s driverless car | Sebastian Thrun

As a boy, I loved cars. When I turned 18, I lost my best friend to a car accident. Like this. And then I decided I’d dedicate my life to saving one million people every year. Now I haven’t succeeded, so this is just a progress report, but I’m here to tell you a little bit about self-driving cars. I saw the concept first in the DARPA Grand Challenges where the U.S. government issued a prize to build a self-driving car that could navigate a desert. And even though a hundred teams were there, these cars went nowhere. So we decided at Stanford to build a different self-driving car. We built the hardware and the software. We made it learn from us, and we set it free in the desert. And the unimaginable happened: it became the first car to ever return from a DARPA Grand Challenge, winning Stanford 2 million dollars. Yet I still hadn’t saved a single life. Since, our work has focused on building driving cars that can drive anywhere by themselves — any street in California. We’ve driven 140,000 miles. Our cars have sensors by which they magically can see everything around them and make decisions about every aspect of driving. It’s the perfect driving mechanism. We’ve driven in cities, like in San Francisco here. We’ve driven from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 1. We’ve encountered joggers, busy highways, toll booths, and this is without a person in the loop; the car just drives itself. In fact, while we drove 140,000 miles, people didn’t even notice. Mountain roads, day and night, and even crooked Lombard Street in San Francisco. (Laughter) Sometimes our cars get so crazy, they even do little stunts. (Video) Man: Oh, my God. What? Second Man: It’s driving itself. Sebastian Thrun: Now I can’t get my friend Harold back to life, but I can do something for all the people who died. Do you know that driving accidents are the number one cause of death for young people? And do you realize that almost all of those are due to human error and not machine error, and can therefore be prevented by machines? Do you realize that we could change the capacity of highways by a factor of two or three if we didn’t rely on human precision on staying in the lane — improve body position and therefore drive a little bit closer together on a little bit narrower lanes, and do away with all traffic jams on highways? Do you realize that you, TED users, spend an average of 52 minutes per day in traffic, wasting your time on your daily commute? You could regain this time. This is four billion hours wasted in this country alone. And it’s 2.4 billion gallons of gasoline wasted. Now I think there’s a vision here, a new technology, and I’m really looking forward to a time when generations after us look back at us and say how ridiculous it was that humans were driving cars. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “Google’s driverless car | Sebastian Thrun

  1. I will be upset when I get blamed for getting into a wreck and a robot car that ran into me when the driver is asleep at the wheel. Is there a need for this?

  2. I'm sure there will be a driver-mode on future cars, that you can enable and control the car. But there will be a safety computer that will take over whenever it detects an imminent collision

  3. people do a million dumb things when they drive like text or eat or play with the radio and are constantly killing each other with them, computers would eliminate most accidents

  4. While I will be sad to stop driving my car, think back to all the times we almost died in one of them, or been run over by them.

  5. "..due to human error and not machine error. " Machines are created by humans making them NOT 100% perfect. There is error in machine for there is error in human.

  6. Nice, this will work in America.
    but how about countries like Russia, or India?
    people in traffic are crazy there!
    I think the computer in the 'googlecar' will crash

  7. trains for that, or using telecoms to reduce the need.
    the car is a luxury of the oil age. reducing car use is the lowest hangig fruit on the way down .. only some small % of the worlds population built their cities in a way that demands them (suburbs)

  8. Humans make vastly more errors than humans. How would it affect drivers who want to drive their own cars? How do you mean? The car doesn't rely on every other car being driverless. They can work around drivers and have and drivers can work around them, and have. As long as there is a market and government don't apply force, you can buy or use a car in manual mode.

  9. They control your fuel injectors, idle speed and spark plugs, automatic transmission, brakes (ABS), air bags, traction control (cars are much easier to handle than they used to be because sliding and whatnot is automatically minimized for you), and stuff like that.

  10. In that case you'll have to calculate the current numbers (these are US only): accidents 5.25 million (something like 50% of people have to be hospitalized), deaths 34,767. Then I guess you compare that to what a driverless car can do. If it is the same, there is no problem, if it is less, it is a good idea. If it is much less, it is a great idea. Viruses aren't too likely because, so far, these are un-networked systems. Also, programs with a specific design are more stable than a smartphone, pc

  11. The future is now! I can see it all day and anybody can say technology can cut off jobs or things like that, but I can say about it is: The tecnology is made to help all, support in all areas and make lives better. We make you life better for tomorrow with all technology as possible… Thanks for share with us. This is future of transportation design…

  12. I am sure once it's commercially available, there will already be safety measures installed to prevent such things.

    Although hacking cannot really be prevented, it can be hindered to some extent, and it will surely get more secure as time passes.

  13. So your telling me that you'd rather have millions of car accidents a year and traffic, just so you can drive your own vehicle.

  14. I think a Driver should be free to drive, as long as he does no error. A self driving car is nice. A drivable car you can do no errors with would be crazy.
    We could do races to our Work through the city, while playing a racegame over Glass, and protectet by a "anti-Human-Damage-Software" within your car.
    Electric Cars wouldnt even be noisy.

  15. What i mean is highly abstract, so i try it a second time:
    There are no signs, no rules, no lines on the streets. Every car knows everything about every traffic participant. The People drive like crayzy. And a kid crossing the street is expectet by all cars and comunicated to each car on the world.
    A child could cross the street perfactly save while every driver plays his virtual race to work. Cars could run whith hundrets of miles perfectly save arround each human.
    A swarm of cars!
    Flying cars!

  16. I think it will be brilliant when the technology is mainstream. You could go for a night out and not have to worry about getting a taxi home because you had too much to drink. If you had a very long journey you could just lie back and have a sleep or watch a film. catch up on TV etc. You would also be able to get to places much faster, with automated cars you could do away with speed limits on highways motorways.

  17. Some peoples want to 'enjoy driving' is not worth the value of the hundreds of thousands of lives saved and the various applications of this technology.

  18. "Electronic Stability Control (ESC)…The car's control unit can reduce power from the engine and even apply the brakes on individual wheels to prevent the car from understeering or oversteering." Could lead to a catastrophy in case of malfunction.

  19. Wait, wait, wait. Humans drive cars. Mind blown. I thought morons drove cars. (joking of course don't get you car in a twist around a pole)

  20. I hate commenting after a comment, but um, after reading some comments from other people.
    Just know this if you watch Ted talks with a "I know Better" stand point you are the single reason this world is messed up as much as it is. And thank you for your comment so you may be tagged for exclusion from the farther evolution of the human race.

  21. Amazing! Instead of dumping money into the dumb google glasses, they should be putting it into this.

  22. I think people are too quick to dismiss Google Glass. they are only in developer phase right now; the consumer product won't be released until sometime in 2014. and even after the first consumer version is released, they will likely continue to create new iterations. they will find a way to make them aesthetically pleasing, and a bit more subtle. at the very least, it will be a great head-mounted video camera. it may not become a widespread, mainstream item, but I can think of many niche uses

  23. The rate at which computers fuck up is nothing compared to how humans fuck up. Google cars are superbly engineered and made because too many people are idiots. Computers have made a lot of things better. Internet and GPS are a big help to the progress of humans, and we need to get rid of these obsolete roads and cars.

  24. hurry up and start production for very affordable prices, so the foreign powers can leave the middle-east & finally we can have some real PEACE in that region.

  25. You'd still have speed limits so your car doesn't fly off the road, but it would help a lot because you could have an accurate and precise prediction of how long it would take to get somewhere and then you could plan your timing a lot better.

  26. Also the possibility for a rental service, so you don't have to own a car, you can just dial a number and a car gets directed to your mobiles location, then you get in go where you need to go, then it goes and picks up someone else, less cars on road, more utilization of the cars that are on the road, should be generally cheaper than owning a car given its running costs (tax, mot, insurance, repairs etc)

  27. This will completely reshape society. Just imagine. Kids will no longer have to rely on parents to drive them to soccer practice. Teenagers will no longer have to take Drivers Ed. People will no longer have to worry about speeding tickets…this is truly mind-blowing. I'm excited for the future.

  28. This biggest problem I see with this being implemented into society is that so many people ENJOY driving. It might be a struggle to give up the ability to drive. Especially considering how driving has become almost a "rite of passage" in our society, a sign of maturity. Unfortunately, people will be stubborn about this.

  29. Its going to be utter hilarity to see all of our self-driven cars give a wiiiiiiiide berth to all unpredictable people driven cars. They will eventually become a nuisance as the continuous flow of traffic has to stop at an intersection, because your tiny monkey brain can't time crossing a flow of traffic at 60+ mph. "Some asshole made me late to work, because he wanted to drive his car!" I'm sure we will set up mock towns so you nostalgic people can drive all you want.

  30. The rite of passage will be learning HTML among other high tech stuff. Most important gadget to own in the future will be tech tech tech. And the driverless car would be made to either drive itself or be driven. Maybe it will "learn" the exact style of driving that the driver prefers…smart car. Or an electrode could be hooked up between passenger/driver and car and they will communicate thru brainwaves…but then that would not eliminate driver error. Lots to consider…

  31. because Google had to do this. Car companies are interested in slower approach, becasue robotaxi would steal their profits. Hence Google.

  32. learning a simple markup-language which without stuff like js or css can only display simple text and images in a browser has absolutely nothing to do with driverless cars

  33. well if the car limits manual control to under a certain speed limit and takes over when you pass that, i'd feel like that'd be ok for even the dumbest of the dumb.

    also there's a car being worked on right now that is constantly watching while you control it but if it sees an imminent threat/danger it takes control and does what it has to to avoid. That would be very helpful for those who enjoy to be reckless drivers.

  34. It's cool they're able to achieve this from a technological perspective but I really prefer to drive my own car thanks. At the end of the day it's just another way for google and governments to spy and control you. If they really wanted to they could take control of your vehicle and or keep tabs on you just like they already via the TSA. Cool technology but I don't like where it could potentially lead to abuse of our privacy by people in power.

  35. i sincerely think if this actually happen in the next 5-10 years. it would be the greatest invention ever in 21st century. think about it, there won't be any death; fuel economy. Most IMPORTANT thing is there won't be any traffics jams at all!!!!! you can do 80 at La freeway all the time!!! 

  36. At 1:32 the car begins to make a left turn from a 2-way street.  It sees the pedestrians in the crosswalk only after it begins to turn, so it comes to a full stop in the intersection.  This is both dangerous (there could have been oncoming traffic) and illegal.  So, who would get the ticket for this infraction?  The owner/passenger or Google?

  37. Technology  really is incredible. It makes me want to live a long time so that I can get a chance to see and experience it all. 

  38. seen that the the car is operated by software, doesn't that raise safety issue based on the Holting  Problem?

  39. Am i only one who enjoys driving. If this means that in future use of conventional car would be denied somehow or taxed … i am bit concerned.

  40. Automobile, as we know it, has an age of around 120 years, so is getting obsolete. With it's steering wheel, gear stick, brake pedal, Throttle pedal, and signal and lighting lever, the driver has all the responsability to fix all the driving parameters, sense road conditions, obstaclaes, make decisions of where, when and how to place the car in traffic, stay on the lane or get another, and so on. It's incredible, with some minor technological aids, that even up to date, this same primitive cars are sold, all sort of shapes, colors, tastes, but all with the same 120 years old almost prehistoric controls, gulty of heavy traffic congestion and car accidents. Let it evolve!


  42. These people are sick don't buy into this crap we aren't that stupid or that damn lazy to need all this crazy technology. I love how they make it seem so harmless knowing they're gonna track all our whereabouts and tax us by the mile wake up people we're living in a prison planet they want us fo have no control over anything call me crazy I'm calling you naive back

  43. them over protective safe nuggets be like "it will save millions yay" them hackers be like "yay can kill millions at once by pressing this button" win win situation

  44. technology is getting too good for our own good. open your eyes people, it is takin away jobs, it is taking away tasks that make us think and thinks for us, soon we wont have to do anything, soon computers will make appointments drive cars, make things. people don't wont to do these tasks but they are what are keeping us humans and thinking otherwise there's no point.

  45. I think this is a good idea for disabled people who need assistance in driving but I wouldn't want this not just because of the privacy concern but because I enjoy driving… 

  46. They told me I was crazy* for not getting a driver's license. While I just saved me time, effort, and money. ^^ – Before I need to drive, nobody will.
    (* exaggerating)

  47. autonav cars will be superceded when they replace all roads with maglev tracks as i proposed 30 years ago. maglev tracks are cheaper than roads and require less maintenance. car-sized automatic trains in constant circulation, like robot-driven taxis. no accidents. no cars rusting away in garages and parking lots.

  48. I have dreams about just sitting in the back of a self-driving car as it navigates me around. I bet when I'm old in the future I'm going to be the weird grandpa who just likes to sit in cars and have it drive places- a thing that I'm sure the kids of that era will be familiar and bored with by then.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *