That last time we’ve heard of Google’s self-driving cars, it was involved in an accident. To counter that from happening again, Google has begun teaching its self-driving automobiles to be a tad bit more assertive. In other words, Google is teaching its cars to honk.
According to the company’s May 2016 Self-Driving Car report, Google has been hard at work teaching its prototype self-driving cars how to honk. These prototype cars are now equipped with internal horns that honk when they see another car backing out of a driveway or swerving into their lane. The decision to go with an internal horn and not an external one is attributed to untrained software. According to Google, honking an external horn at a bad time is more likely to confuse or distract nearby drivers. Google’s engineers have noted when the cars have honked appropriately and inapproriately over the course of 10,000 to 15,000 test-driver miles per week and have trained the software to become more accurate.
“The human act of honking may be (performance) art, but our self-driving cars aim to be polite, considerate, and only honk when it makes driving safer for everyone,” says Google.
Of course, honking isn’t the only way that Google is improving the assertiveness of its self-driving prototype cars. The company is also working on adding noise to its low-decibel electric prototypes so that pedestrians, cyclists, and visually impaired people will know when a car is approaching.
Source: Ars Technica