Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced that it is testing new ground for wireless charging of its self-driving pod in Kirkland location that will revolutionize the way self-driving cars charge themselves without manual wired charging, taking another leap forward in its future driving project.
Google has already filed details of the project with the US Federal communication Commissionabout its plan to work on wireless charging. The reports cited two major players in wireless-charging technology — New York’s Hevo Power and Philadephia’s Momentum Dynamics.
Hevo Powers, a startup with less than a year of lifespan, has worked on a prototype called Alpha for Google’s sefl-Driving car with ability to deliver 1.5 kilowatts of power to the vehicle and it assured Google that the final product will be much more powerful.
The second vendor, Momentum Dynamics is has already showcased its ability to produce up to 200 kilowatts of energy through wireless transmitters and it was already roped into Google’s prestigious X-Division that secretly works on future challenging projects.
However, Google is making slow but steady inroads into software-driven safe driving on roads from Washington to Tokyo. In January, the tech giant has reported that they have fixed a left-turn problem in their software so the car can recognise the curve and plan the turn well ahead.
While updates on software front based on simulations are currently filling Google software backup of the project, the wireless charging would become another game-changer for Google’s self-driving cars.
Currently, Google is focusing on testing its cars on hilly areas and the latest location is Kirkland, where Google said it is keen to test its systems in the inclement weather of Kirkland.
“The hills of the city will allow us to test our sensors at different angles and elevations,” Google said in a press note. “Testing in new cities enables our engineers to further refine our software and adapt to these different environments.”
“We are excited about the potential self-driving cars have to reduce accident rates and to provide mobility for people who can’t get around easily,” said Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen welcoming Google to the town.
As of now, Google’s self-driving cars have driven more than 1.4 million miles and every mile has given ample chance for Google engineers to update their software with new inputs. Now their system has become so sensitive that it can detect a cyclist’s move next or his turn with just a signal.
For instance, in Austin they faced a new challenge. Unlike other traffic lights which are vertical in Mountain View, California, Austin has most of the traffic lights horizontal. To test its self-driving car, Google has changed its software to expect
from a street environment — lane lines, how high traffic signals are from the ground, curb heights,
bridges. In Austin, traffic lights are dimmer than in Mountain View and it required calibrating the sensors accordingly.
Google hopes to overcome road accidents with its self-driving cars as 94% of road collisions in the U.S. are linked to human error.