How is that for you, puny human driver? Google’s AI driven car has managed to clock an extremely impressive 2 million miles! In other words, the car has been driven over around 2,000,000 miles of ground ( the number looks more impressive with all the zeros in it, right?) which for context, is equal to almost 300 years of car driving for an average human.
That makes Google’s AI one of the most experienced drivers currently around and kicking. According to the company, it took it almost 6 years to log the first one million miles while the second million was way quicker at took under 16 months. This is thanks to the fact that carmakers and their tech providing consorts are accumulating greater experience, which is letting them make the most of their cars.
Also, governments are increasingly opening up to the idea of cars without anyone in their driver’s seat roaming around on roads. This has been thanks in no small part, to improved technologies, which have made these cars that much better over the years.
In case you are wondering about why Google is bothering to waste all that perfectly good fuel — well, the company is getting much more back in return. Apart from getting a chance to identify and correct mistakes, Google is also accumulating a treasure trove of driving data. Considering that autonomous cars usually deploy machine learning to improve as they drive, Google’s 2 million miles have a very significant role to play in teaching its AI how to drive.
Speaking on the announcement, self-driving software lead Dmitri Dolgov said,
It’s relatively easy to master the first 90% of driving where you’re traveling on freeways, navigating light city-street traffic, or making your way through simple intersections.
However, since we the humans, spend a significant portion of our time not on freeways or in light traffic, well, Google’s AI has to face the harder phases of its journey too.
But to create a truly self-driving car that can do all the driving, we knew we’d need experience in more challenging and interesting situations. That’s why we now spend the vast majority of our time on complex city streets, rather than simpler environments like highways. It takes much more time to accumulate miles if you’re focused on suburban roads; still, we’re gaining experience at a rapid pace.
And its doing pretty well so far with only a minor accident to show. However, there is still a long, long way to go before self-driving cars can join their human driven compatriots with full confidence of making it to their destinations. Even the best of us humans are as unpredictable as anything, and unfortunately, dealing with unpredictability is just not one of artificial intelligence’s stronger points. Not yet anyways.