Google has been working on self-driving cars for a few years now, and they are actually driving around California right now. Self-driving cars are the future, and they are pretty darn cool. But as with everything, when it comes to technology, there are still bugs. A cyclist found one of its bugs, or maybe not so much a bug, perhaps a feature? When bikers come to a stop, they typically roll back and forth to stay balanced, in what’s called a “track stand”. That’s where Google’s self-driving cars get confused.
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This cyclist was at a four-way stop, in which Google’s autonomous car was there first. So the car waited for a second then started to proceed. But it saw the cyclist roll forward a bit, and stopped. This happened a few times, according to the cyclist, who wrote about the event on Road Bike Review. “I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. It stopped abruptly.”
He also said that this continued for a few minutes, and that he could see a few guys laughing. To be honest, I’m sure most people would be laughing if they saw this in real life. The cyclist was doing what they call a “track stand” and it’s obvious that in the testing labs, Google did not test track stands with their self-driving car. But perhaps that will change in the near future, after this event. Google will need to teach their cars this new hipster cyclist movement.
Google’s self-driving cars have been in a few accidents, but according to the accident reports, none of those accidents were actually the car’s fault. It was the other driver’s fault. Which means that Google’s autonomous cars are pretty safe, even if they aren’t legal everywhere just yet, that will likely change in the near future. Self-driving cars are really exciting, and many of us can’t wait to see them come to fruition and be available for purchase. Although that’s likely another 10 years or so down the road. But Google is working on it.