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These tiny cars are brand-new – until a few weeks ago, Google was retrofitting standard automobiles with its gadgetry -- but he's an old hand at this.
Urmson was technical director of the driverless-car team that won the 2007 annual challenge from DARPA, according to The Economist. His team's "main advantage over its rivals was that it had mapped the course in fine detail, something that his current employers are busy doing for the rest of the planet."
"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," he said in a blog post.
Urmson said the new cars already have been tested extensively on streets surrounding the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
"As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer."
The New York Times notes that the vehicles will have electronic sensors that can see about 600 feet in all directions. They will have rear-view mirrors only because these are required by California's vehicle code, Urmson said. The front of the car is of a foamlike material, its windshield likewise softer than normal.
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