Google’s computerized drivers are just as safe with children around as good human drivers are; both became extra cautious when there are kids around. Google is teaching its self-driving cars about children, and it explains how it does that in a blog post.
How is Google’s car learning about kids?
Google does not require its cars to be driving to learn children’s behavior. Rather, Google bribes children to play around its self-driving cars so that the cars can learn their behavior. The result is, when Google’s cars sense people around who are no more taller than three feet, it understands that it is required to act in a more cautious and responsible manner.
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In the blog post, Google said it is teaching the algorithm to take a lot of care when around the pedestrians, and this becomes more important at the time of Halloween when more kids are on the streets. On roads with pedestrian crossings, the algorithm also gets more careful, and the car’s ability to detect the different behavior of children improves.
Google’s car has learned from experience that the kids can jump in front of it or anywhere on the road anytime. The self-driving cars have sensors that can see children hiding in the parking lot between cars.
Technology to soon hit the markets
Google unveiled its autonomous vehicle project last year and has been making improvements to it since then. Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s driverless car project, informed readers that the engineers conduct 3 million miles of testing in simulators on a daily basis.
Google’s self-driving cars without a steering wheel and pedals can be seen on streets around Mountain View, Calif. and also on streets around Austin, Tex. for real-life testing. The project’s testing fleet includes both modified Lexus SUVs and a new prototype design. The new prototype has been designed to be completely self-driving from the ground up. There are safety drivers aboard who could take over control in cases of emergency.
“We’ve made some pretty exciting progress and at this point we’re pretty convinced this technology is going to come to market,” Urmson said.