Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) has been testing its self-driving cars with real traffic for quite some time now and the vehicles have done well. Some of them have been involved in collisions but the company claims they were caused by humans and not their cars.
Earlier this month, one of its cars met a cyclist on a four-way stop. This had happened many times before, Google recently revealed that its cars have driven more than a million miles so it is probably very common. But the encounter was different from the others, the cyclist was doing a track stand.
The cyclist spoke about the encounter with the car on an online bike forum, where he posted that the vehicle stopped before he did, so he waited for the car to continue while he was doing a track stand.
Google’s self-driving cars are super careful on the streets and stop when anyone else is moving forward into its path. When cyclists do a track stand, they sometimes shift forward and back to maintain balance. On top of that, the cyclist doing a track stand maintains the body position of one moving. The track stand is nothing to a human driver but the Google car is still learning from this one.
According to the cyclist riding a fixed-gear bike, the car started moving but as he moved his body forward, it stopped again. The two did this for around two minutes with the same response. The self-driving car never made it past the middle of the intersection. The encounter was a little fun for the cyclist and the two guys inside the car, who were laughing throughout the whole thing and registering it on the laptop.
The cyclist says he didn’t leave with a negative impression on Google’s cars. He wrote that he felt safer with it than one being driven by a human.
Safer Roads For Cyclists
Google’s cars and all the other companies looking to get in on the self-driving craze, would help the many cyclist out on the roads. Not only would they be safer but it would attract more people. But this encounter showed that Google still has work to do when it comes to track stands.
Google already appears to be working on cyclists, after a patent filed by them recently, detailed how its vehicles could recognize their hand signals.
The encounter, which happened in Austin, comes after the search giant took testing to other areas. Google began testing there last month after doing it for months near their headquarters.
The company is happy that they were able to see this and a spokeswoman called the situation a good feedback.
The testing is just getting started and we’re a few years away from these cars hitting the streets, so Google has plenty of time to work on track stands and other things they find during this phase.