Google’s self-driving cars are aware that children can be less predictable than adults, being programmed to act more cautiously around them. But to do that, they first need to be able to identify them as children – something which can be more challenging when they’re wearing costumes – so Google took advantage of Halloween to give the cars some additional learning.
This week, lots of little ghouls, superheroes and even robots were running around Google with their families, so we asked them to hang out around our parked cars. 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 …
Once the car identifies a child, it adopts a more cautious approach, aware that they can suddenly run across a road or appear from between two parked cars.
Google has recently been working on making the cars themselves more predictable, by teaching them to behave more like people. The cars do, though, already have a perfect safety record, having never been found to be at fault in an accident.
Google shared the latest update on the self-driving car’s Google+ page.