Alphabet, Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google recently reported that its self-driving vehicles are capable of detecting bicycles and cyclists’ hand signals, ensuring that drivers of both can share the road safely and efficiently.
Surely, driving alongside manually driven vehicles can be daunting for cyclists and vice versa. With this announcement of a cyclist recognition capability, it appears that Google has overcome one of the biggest dilemmas of automated driving.
Google Self-Driving Technology’s Bicycle Recognition
While it is no longer a challenge to engineer vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure recognition capabilities and features in self-driving vehicles, technology companies are still finding it difficult to come up with integrated vehicle-to-pedestrians algorithms.
According to Google, its self-driving cars have been exposed to different types of bicycles, enabling them to master every tiny detail any driver would know when dealing with cyclists. With the improved algorithms of the system, cyclists can easily share the road with Google’s self-driving cars without worrying about their safety. Moreover, the self-driving technology has been enhanced to acknowledge common hand signals used by cyclists when driving. This allows the vehicles to interpret cyclist behaviors on the road correctly, making it easier to simultaneously communicate and process driving decisions.
The self-driving cars have been programmed to maintain a distance from bicycles with unpredictable road mannerisms and tendencies, cyclists who are violating traffic rules, and also bicycles traveling during night time. This is part of Google’s attempts to make the vehicles as accident-proof as they could be.
Google Self-Driving Technology by the Numbers
Google has over 1,000 bicycles in its campus where some self-driving car testing is being conducted. Over 100 Google employees have used them around the track as part of the self-driving technology’s enhancement program and recognition training.
In Google’s update, 58 of its self-driving cars are already running through public roads. The company has reached a new monthly high of 81,757 miles traveled overall. They have run a weekly average of about 15,000 miles to 17,000 miles.
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