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Google Exec Addresses Self-Driving Vehicle Innovations Today at Noon

December 1, 2015 By: Trucking News Staff Tags: Fleet Management, News, Safety, Technology

Dr. Chris Urmson, director of the self-driving car program for Google, will discuss progress and advances in the development of self-driving vehicle — including commercial trucks — at noon today (EDT) at the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass.

During his conversation, Urmson will share some experiences and amusing anecdotes, along with Google’s vision for how these vehicles will become a reality.

Urmson’s team at Google have used these so-called self-driving vehicles to cover more than a million miles on highways and suburban and urban streets over the past five years. New algorithms, increased processing power, innovative sensors, and massive amounts of data enable these vehicles to see further, understand more, and handle a wide variety of challenging driving scenarios.

Through this journey, Urmson and his team is learning how to interact with drivers, users, and others on the road, and what it takes to bring incredibly complex system to fruition. He said self-driving vehicles will save lives, save time, and offer mobility to those who otherwise don’t have it. Eventually, Urmson says, they will reshape the way we live in, and move through, our communities and cities.

This event culminates Volpe’s newest thought leadership series, Beyond Traffic 2045: Reimagining Transportation that is an ongoing national dialogue on Beyond Traffic, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s 30-year framework for the future.

Prior to joining Google, Urmson was on the faculty of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where his research focused on motion planning and perception for robotic vehicles. During his time at Carnegie Mellon, he worked with commercial trucks, drove robots around in deserts, and served as the director of technology for the team that won the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge.

Urmson earned his PhD in 2005 from Carnegie Mellon and his BS in computer engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1998.

DOT’s National Transportation Systems Center is located at 55 Broadway in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Mass.

For more information about today’s lecture, email Ellen Bell, director of Strategic Initiatives for Research and Innovation, at