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Google's Self-Driving Car Demonstrated On Closed Course (VIDEO)

First Posted: 03/03/11 09:55 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:35 PM ET

Google always seems to have a series of interesting projects operating under-the-radar. Back in October, AP reported on Google's experimentation with cars that drive themselves:

Google Inc. is road-testing cars that steer, stop and start without a human driver, the company says.

The goal is to "help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions" through ride sharing and "the new 'highway trains of tomorrow,'" project leader Sebastian Thrun wrote Saturday on Google's corporate blog.

The cars are never unmanned, Thrun wrote. He said a backup driver is always behind the wheel to monitor the software.

The New York Times also took a look at Google's ambitious transportation efforts:

Autonomous cars are years from mass production, but technologists who have long dreamed of them believe that they can transform society as profoundly as the Internet has.

Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, the engineers argue.

At this week's TED conference, Search Engine Land caught video of one of Google's self-driving cars racing around a closed course. Take a look at their video to catch a brief glimpse of the future.

WATCH (via Search Engine Land):

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Filed by Adam Goldberg  |