Recently, we have started to hear more and more about Google’s self-driving (or autonomous) automobiles. In June, Google released its Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report with a focus on keeping bicyclists safe on the road. According to Google, its self-driving vehicles have been programmed to accommodate and recognize bikers.
More specifically, the vehicles have been programmed to slow down and give cyclists more room to ride whenever the vehicle sensed the presence of a parked car’s door being open. Additionally, the vehicle’s software has the ability to recognize the hand signals used by bikers and based on the signal provided, the vehicle knows to slow down and let the rider merge accordingly.
Google notes that, “through observing cyclists on the roads and private test tracks, we’ve taught our software to recognize some common riding behaviors, helping our car better predict a cyclist’s course. Our sensors can detect a cyclist’s hand signals as an indication of an intention to make a turn or shift over.
Cyclists often make hand signals far in advance of a turn, and our software is designed to remember previous signals from a rider so it can better anticipate a rider’s turn down the road.”
Helping Cyclists Feel Safer on the Road
According to Google’s report, over 720 bicyclists were killed in 2014 and over 50,000 were hurt throughout America. Nevertheless, the report also revealed that biking has increased in popularity over the years, noting that the number of bicycle trips increased from 1.7 million to 4 million over an eight-year period between 2001 to 2009.
Unfortunately, as your Denver personal injury lawyer knows, thousands of minor automobile collisions occur on a daily basis throughout the U.S., the majority of which were caused by human mistakes. Google is working to help lower the statistics so that bikers can feel safer when riding.
The report further noted the fact that the bikes themselves can come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Accordingly, Google has trained its software to recognize such variety, regardless of whether a bike has several colors on it, larger-than-normal wheels, car seats attached to them or is a unicycle. This recognition helps the self-driving vehicle to “better share the road no matter your choice of ride.”
Google’s self-driving vehicles can “see” 360 degrees, which makes it much more aware of bikers on the road in both daytime and nighttime conditions. Even in “tricky” situations, such as two bikers riding at night, the automobile was shown to be able to approach the bikers and adapt accordingly to avoid a possible crash.
Keeping everyone safe on the roads is a top priority of state lawmakers and safety advocates alike. If you or someone you love is involved in a collision while riding a bike, you are encouraged to seek help from a skilled personal injury attorney who has your best interest in mind. Contact Levine Law as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and options. Time is of the essence in personal injury cases, so do not delay.