Google’s self driving cars are cool, apart fromÂ theÂ Prius platform.
They are certainly much more appealing to me than any public transport system currently mooted, and would go a long towards ameliorating traffic issues.
It also seems to me that we would be better off investing several billion dollars in working Google to bring self-drive cars to a reality in NZ, rather than wasting the money on stupid 19th century technology that is confirmed to corridors and rails.
But are they safe?
Well it appears they are, logging more than 10,000 miles without a single infringement.
On a drive in a convoy of Google’s autonomous vehicles last week, a difficult driving situation arose.
As our platoon approached a major intersection, two Google cars ahead of us crept forward into the intersection, preparing to make left turns. The oncoming traffic took nearly the whole green light to clear, so the first car made the left as the green turned to yellow. The second, however, was caught in that tough spot where the car is in the intersection but the light is turning, and the driver can either try to back up out of the intersection or gun it and make the left, even though he or she or it knows the light is going to turn red before the maneuver is complete. The self-driving car gunned it, which was the correct decision, I think. But it was also the kind of decision that was on the borderline of legality.
It got me wondering: had these cars ever gotten a ticket driving around Mountain View, where they’ve logged 10,000 miles?
“We have not cited any Google self-driving cars,” SergeantÂ Saul Jaeger, the press information officer at the Mountain View Police Department, told me.Â They hadn’t pulled one over and let the vehicle go, either, to Jaeger’s knowledge.
I wondered if that was because of a pre-existing agreement between Google and the department, but Jaeger said, “There is no agreement in place between Google and the PD.”
Google confirmed that they none of their cars had ever been ticketed in Mountain View or elsewhere.
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