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A Cyclist’s Encounter with an Indecisive Google Self-Driving Car

A Cyclist s Encounter with an Indecisive Google Self Driving Car Robotics Trends


“The car remained motionless for several seconds and I continued to maintain my balance without moving. As the car finally inched forward, I was forced to rock the handlebars to hold my position. Apparently, this motion was detected by one of the sensors and the car stopped abruptly. I held the bike in balance and waited for another several seconds and the cycle repeated itself … the car inched forward, I shifted my weight and re-positioned the bars and the car stopped. We did this little dance three separate times and the car was not even halfway through the intersection.  I noticed at one point that the testers were laughing and apparently typing code into a terminal to ‘teach’ the vehicle how to deal with the situation.

“The car finally rolled on and I proceeded on my ride … it was an interesting experience and I noticed that I actually felt safer dealing with a robotically-operated vehicle than one with a human driver.”

Now, Google’s self-driving cars do have patented technology for cyclist hand detection.

The car’s sensors will notice a cyclist among other objects and vehicles on the road. It then measures the distance between the cyclist’s hand and head to decide whether a cyclist is turning or stopping. The algorithm will also look at the angle at which the cyclist’s elbow is bending, and the size and shape of the cyclist’s hands, arms and head.

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I have been in a similar situation with a self-driving car AND another cyclist! As described in this article, the car inches forward extra slowly and gingerly when in the presence of bikes... unlike almost all human drivers!

That extra polite etiquette actually sounds adorable. I hope to see this firsthand sometime. 

Yeah, I think especially with the new tiny self-driving Google cars it will sort of be like those candlesticks in the Disney version of _Beauty and the Beast_. Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test!

Well now I'm going to think of them when I see Google's cars.

beauty and the beast be our guest gif

Seems like Belle would approve!

beauty and the beast be our guest gif

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