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Realizing Self-Driving Vehicles

Chris Urmson, PhD

Director, Self-Driving Car Program, Google

Self-driving vehicles will save lives, save time, and offer mobility to those who otherwise don’t have it. Eventually they will reshape the way we live in, and move through, our communities and cities.

A dedicated team at Google has spent the last five years moving self-driving vehicles closer to a reality. 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. 

Google’s vehicles have driven over one million miles on highways and suburban and urban streets. Through this journey, Dr. Chris Urmson and his team have learned a lot—not just about how to drive, but about interacting with drivers, users, and others on the road, and about what it takes to bring incredibly complex system to fruition.

During this talk, Urmson shared some fun stories and lessons, along with Google’s vision for how these vehicles will become a reality.

This event was part of Volpe's most recent thought leadership series, Reimagining Transportation.

About the Speaker

Chris Urmson.Chris Urmson leads Google’s self-driving car program, where the team’s vehicles have driven over one million miles.

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 house size 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 BSc in computer engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1998.

The views of the presenter do not necessarily reflect those of U.S. DOT.

News and Video

Read the news story and view the video from this event.