Google is continuing to tailor its self-driving car plans, and is seeing how well they navigate a busy city street.
In a blog post the firm said it is trying to solve common situations on the road that can blight a journey, and expects to be able to teach a car to react to the road just as a human does, and sometimes better.
Chris Urmson, the director for Google's Self-Driving Car Project, said: "Jaywalking pedestrians. Cars lurching out of hidden driveways. Double-parked delivery trucks blocking your lane and your view. At a busy time of day, a typical city street can leave even experienced drivers sweaty-palmed and irritable.
"We all dream of a world in which city centers are freed of congestion from cars circling for parking and have fewer intersections made dangerous by distracted drivers. That's why over the past year we've shifted the focus of the Google self-driving car project onto mastering city street driving."
Street driving has taken place in Google's home city, Mountain View, California, and Urmson said that many miles have been clocked up during tests.
"Since our last update, we've logged thousands of miles on the streets of our hometown of Mountain View, California. A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," he added.
"We've improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously: pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn. A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can't, and it never gets tired or distracted."
A video embedded below shows how the self-driving car tours the streets and copes with the unexpected. Urmson said that it does both very well, adding that the vehicles have covered around 700,000 "autonomous miles".
"A mile of city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving, with hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," he added.
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