Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) informed that last Saturday, parents and children celebrated Halloween at its headquarters, as the kids running in costumes were testing the self-driving cars’ sensors.
The company said, in a blog post, that “this gives our sensors and software extra practice at recognizing children in all their unique shapes and sizes, even when they’re in odd costumes”.
Having kids running around erratically was the perfect challenge to prove the safety on Google’s vehicles, as their moves are unpredictable and they are hard to see behind objects. The company said that this practice was of huge help, and that their cars continue to “learn” how to drive more careful around people.
“We teach our cars to drive more cautiously around children. When our sensors detect children—costumed or not—in the vicinity, our software understands that they may behave differently. Children’s movements can be more unpredictable—suddenly darting across the road or running down a sidewalk—and they’re easily obscured behind parked cars,” the post says..
No harm was done to the children, as there were no of accidents reported by the company. In fact, Google announced in May that their prototype successfully reduced in 94 percent car accidents caused by human error.
Google’s technology aims to eradicate most of car accidents, to save wasted time stucked in traffic jams, as giving the opportunity to those unable to drive a car to be independent and reach their destinations.
Shame on humans
A research from the University of Michigan unveiled an interesting fact: self-driving cars get in more accidents —per million miles traveled— that regular vehicles, but the fault of the accident has always been of the person driving the other car, as reported by Vox.
This could mean that in the future there will be a chaotic transition period, with both self-driven and human-driven cars on the roads, leading to a confusion. Nevertheless, experts trust that technology will solve these problems, as the software of the vehicles adapts to the way we humans drive.
On September 18, Google announced that they brought their prototype to families in Austin, to do a Q&A about the vehicle. In a post on their blog, they announced that some of their vehicles were rolling down the city streets, encouraging people to ask anything to the test drivers riding them.
Also, they launched an invitation called “Paint the Town: Austin,” asking artists to submit their work in order to be placed in one of the vehicles. Five winning pieces will be selected to decorate the vehicle, as their authors will get a ride around one of the cars. The submissions ended this November 1th.