“I felt safer dealing with a self-driving car than a human-operated one.”
“We repeated this little dance for about two full minutes, and the car never made it past the middle of the intersection,” the cyclist writes. “The two guys inside were laughing and punching stuff into a laptop, I guess trying to modify some code to ‘teach’ the car something about how to deal with the situation.”
Though it’s obviously not the right behavior for a self-driving car, that’s not a bad outcome for the encounter. Drivers often aren’t very courteous of cyclists, but a well-made autonomous vehicle would have no option but to be careful and respectful. “The odd thing,” the cyclist writes, is that “I felt safer dealing with a self-driving car than a human-operated one.” Google may still have a lot of work to do, but that’s the outcome it’s looking for.
The encounter is said to have occurred in Austin, where Google very recently began a new set of self-driving car tests on public roads. In fact, it’s encounters like this one that Google was looking for when it started up there. “From pedicabs to pickup trucks, Austin’s streets will give our self-driving car some new learning experiences,” Google said at the time. It’s not surprising to hear that Google’s cars continue to be cautious in their encounters with basically anything else on the road. Google recently started to report accidents that its cars have been in, and so far, Google says, every accident was the fault of another vehicle’s human driver.