The director of Google’s self-driving cars says the cars have confronted a variety of scenes on surface streets around the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.govtech.com
It’s great that Google are doing this testing with autonomous cars It highlights exactly some of the things I have been blogging about lately http://bit.ly/1HOUtBV. The Google car comes across a woman in a wheelchair chasing a duck. Yes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. The driverless car stops and waits, where a human driving a car would probably honk their horn, scare them both out of the way and carry on instead of waiting and increasing congestion.
Ducks are a classic. We had a major problem in New Zealand earlier this year when all over the country mother ducks took their ducklings across highways and motorways and just like in this video clip from Minnesota DoT cars swerved or even stopped on busy motorways. I was caught twice myself having to stop suddenly from around 50mph because cars in front of me suddenly stopped.
Another Google example was where 3 lanes of vehicles were proceeding after lights at an intersection turned green. The Google car stopped for a cyclist who decided to run a red light (not uncommon and sometimes deadly). The autonomous car stopped, the others didn’t and the cyclist had to swerve to avoid being hit by the vehicles who were in the right.
So here’s a thought. Google said that they haven’t caused any of the accidents they have been in. Is that because the law says if you rear end a car that suddenly stops, it’s your fault? Therefore they didn’t cause the crash.
Who do you think is the dangerous driver? The vehicle that swerves in front of you, or slams on the anchors (check the video on the link above) to avoid the cute ducklings on the freeway, or the person who is driving normally, can’t see the ducklings and has no reason to expect vehicles in front and has to suddenly perform evasive manoeuvrings?
When I researched this story I found many examples of drivers complaining when they were ticketed for swerving. The charges were dangerous or reckless driving. I’m with the police. As they say in New Zealand, “It’s you or the possum”
I love possums, my brother had a pet possum called Peter which used to hold a sandwich between it’s paws lick the jam off neatly, before eating the bread. They are just as cute as ducklings. Its interesting isn’t it, that you will see plenty of possum roadkill, but I have only once seen a dead duck on the road, and it was in the air when it was killed. That’s another story entirely.
So where do you sit? Stop for the small animal or swerve and risk involving others in a crash that could have far greater consequences (for humans at least)?