Google self driving car safety Stories May 19, 2016

While Google’s self-driving cars have an excellent safety record, that record isn’t quite perfect, and the company wants to do all it can to protect pedestrians should one be hit by a car.

A previous Google patent described a combination of foam bumpers and external airbags to minimize injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision, but a new patent spotted by Mercury News swaps out the airbags for an adhesive coating intended to act as human flypaper …

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Google self driving car safety Stories November 2, 2015

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 … 

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Google self driving car safety Stories August 28, 2015

The accident record of Google’s self-driving cars speaks for itself, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still bugs to be worked out. Ironically, though, one of those bugs demonstrates just how capable the cars are.

When one of the cars encountered a cyclist doing a trackstand (balancing while stationary by making tiny back-and-forth movements) at a four-way stop, the car came to a halt every time the cyclist moved forward an inch or so. The recent encounter in Austin, Texas, was described by the cyclist on web forum Road Bike Review …  expand full story

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