The quick & short answer is not during the testing period. We’ve been aware for some time that Google has been testing their fleet of self-driving vehicles – and up until recently the minor accidents they’ve been involved with were caused by human driven vehicles that ran into Google’s cars.
Well, that’s changed. Recently, a Google self-driving Lexus ran into the side of Mountain View, California transit bus. Thankfully there were no injuries, but this accident shows that while self-driving/autonomous cars respond more properly and see a lot more than human drivers — they can miss things that humans pick up on.
For example – at a four-way stop we know that the basic rule is vehicles stop and cross the intersection in the order they first arrived. However, if two cars arrive at about the same time, the one furthest to the right goes first and then others follow going clockwise around the intersection. Many drivers forget about the clockwise protocol and end up signaling their intent with hand gestures and eye contact. This is something that autonomous car would miss. The proposed solution is equipping cars with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications.
There’s been talk of equipping these cars with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications – so that in a sense, the cars could talk to each other. One would imagine that this technology could prevent a tremendous number of accidents including those fender benders we see so often during traffic hours. It will be interesting to see V2V in action. Later this year, GM will be the first auto maker to launch V2V capability with the 2017 Cadillac CTS.
Questions That Come To Mind…
- Will old fashioned, human-driven cars need to be retro-fit with V2V communications?
- With V2V technology and self-driving cars getting closer to a reality – who would pay for damages and suffering in such an accident?