Everyone knows about Google's self-driving cars by now. In fact, they're becoming trivial in a way, especially since the company hasn't made many announcements or any visible progress since it first revealed the project a few years ago.But, while Google may not have anything spectacular to boast about, its cars have been getting better and better in the past couple of years.
The problem is that the last few kinks that need ironing out are the hardest to overcome. Google's self-driving cars work great most of the time and in most conditions, but not all.
Rain, for example, is an insurmountable obstacle. The water changes the way objects reflect the car's laser detection system, making it much harder to make sense of the world around it.
Other things like road works and accidents still pose a problem, which is why Google's cars revert to manual control in these situations.
The New Yorker has a long feature piece on Google's self-driving cars, full of small details like these, but also a big picture of the history of the driving car and what Google has achieved.