If you drove by a car with an alarming amount of cameras on it this week, it may not have needed a driver. 

There have been more conversations about testing technology and its limitations, whether that be with artificial intelligence, voice recognition technology, or in this case – a self-driving car. 

It seems like a relatively new thing, but self-driving cars have been working to be perfected over the last few decades. 

What Is A Self-Driving Car?

A self-driving car is a vehicle that does not require human interaction to navigate to a destination. In other words, the car can be driverless, thanks to a combination of sensors, cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence.  

The Beginning Of Self-Driving Cars

According to Arrow Research, the first self-driving car was “successfully piloted from Pittsburgh to San Diego in 1995.” It was not your typical standard vehicle back then, but it originated nearly 30 years ago. The vehicle was different from one you may have driven in 1995 because the wheel was able to steer itself.

Back then, the company Navlab5 was able to use cameras in a way and several other sensors to navigate the car to its desired destination.  

Self-Driving Cars In Western New York

This week, you may have seen a white car that resembled a Google Maps vehicle; however, this car has several more cameras, on top of the hood, rearview mirrors, sides of the car, and other places – on top of the several sensors added to the car. 

Here’s what the car looks like:

It’s a little concerning, especially when you think about the kind of weather we experience in Buffalo. 

WGRZ spoke with Dr. Stephen Still, a professor in the School of Engineering, who shared what would happen in extreme winter weather conditions. 

“I think Waymo wants to test different degrees of snow, and when it's safe and when it isn't. But ultimately, if it's not safe, they will park."

A spokesman from the City of Buffalo spokesman did say that by state law, they are not yet allowed to operate in the state, but “a certain allowance was made for UB's smaller scale, on-campus research program,” according to WGRZ.

Right now, these Waymo vehicles that are currently driving through the streets of Buffalo are operated by a human driver, but there could be a day very soon where that is not the case. 

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