While other people were out trick-or-treating, at parties, or even staying home handing out candy, Google used the holiday to do some serious studying. Unfortunately, every year there are reports across the country of drivers hitting and even killing children dressed in costumes, and apparently this even presents a challenge for robot cars, putting everyone at risk.
To help overcome that hurdle, Google children, in costume, paraded around the self-driving cars, helping the sensors learn about the unique situation. The tech giant says that it actually programs the cars to drive more cautiously when children are present, because their actions can be wildly unpredictable. Frankly, human drivers should do the same.
Even if you’re not a fan of the koala-like Google cars, the fact that the company is pioneering such tech is great. Human drivers are by no means perfect, and Halloween is an especially dangerous time of the year.
Critics of self-driving technology have said that the cars won’t be able to react appropriately to novel situations. Google clearly is concerned about the same thing and is actively thinking through solutions. To be completely fair, human drivers often don’t know how to react to novel situations, or even everyday scenarios such as merging onto the freeway.
Of course, there are still quite a few kinks to work out with self-driving cars, especially Google’s since it has no steering wheel or controls a driver could use to take over at any given time. Such technology brings up some challenging moral and philosophical questions that must be thought out in advance and included in the vehicle’s programming. Many don’t feel comfortable leaving the answering of those questions to Google or any other corporation.
Funny enough, Google revealed this innovative work via Google+, shocking many that the social media site still exists.