Google first debuted its self-driving car project back in 2010 and has come quite a long way since its inception. The company has released its self-driving car report for June 2016 and has detailed how its autonomous vehicles can safely share the road with cyclists. While cyclists might be hard for the self-driving cars to detect, Google has taught its cars to drive conservatively when near cyclists, to avoid any accidents. Through observation of cyclists on the roads and at Google’s Mountain View test track, the company has managed to teach its software to recognize common riding behaviors such as detecting a cyclists hand signals as an indication to make a turn or shift over. This has helped the company’s fleet of autonomous vehicles to better predict a cyclist’s course.
While having self-driving cars safely share the road with cyclists might be the highlight of the report, Google has also included the usual statistics and accident reports for the month of June. Google’s fleet of self-driving cars have racked up an impressive 1,725,911 miles on autonomous mode and 1,158,921 miles on manual mode since the start of the project in 2010. Manual mode is when test drivers are behind the wheel of the car instead of being self-driven. The autonomous vehicle fleet also averages 15,000-17,ooo miles per week. Google currently has 58 autonomous vehicles on public roads, comprising of 24 Lexus RX450h SUVs and 34 newer prototype vehicles.
As for collisions involving the autonomous vehicle fleet, there were two accidents in the month of June, both of which occurred in Austin, Texas and took place pretty close to each other. The first accident happened on June 6 and occurred when a vehicle made contact with the side of the self-driving car. The Google autonomous vehicle suffered a scrape on its right fender while the other vehicle had a scrape on its left rear. The second collision took place on June 15 and the Google autonomous vehicle was rear-ended by a vehicle which was traveling at approximately 3 mph. The Google autonomous vehicle suffered a minor scrape on its rear bumper while the other vehicle wasn’t damaged. Thankfully, no injuries were reported in both collisions.