Google has announced that it’s latest advancement in driverless technology is to teach autonomous cars to honk their horns.
It doesn’t sound like much (sic) however, the car horn is part of everyday driving. It is used to let other road users know that we are around, that there is some danger and when we are irritated about something. It is with the latter that most drivers now seem to use their horns.
However, Google has not only taught their driverless car how to use it’s horn and when to use it but it has also seemingly taught it some honking etiquette.
The etiquette seems to be that it will only use it’s horn when it will make driving safe for everyone.
Although the driverless cars have been fitted with horns, part of the testing has been the inclusion of a human passenger who has taken notes on when the Google car has used it’s horn.
At first it was only allowed to use it’s horn internally so as not to confuse other road users shelf there be a wayward honk.
However, the Google car has now been given the green light to use it for real.
Google has proudly shared this information in it’s monthly report.
The report stated: “Each time our cars sound the horn, our test drivers take note whether the beep was appropriate, and this feedback helps our engineering team refine our software further.”
“As our honking algorithms improved, we’ve begun broadcasting our car horn to the world.”
So Google have now created “honking algorithms”.
During the testing the Google car was shown a large number of different situations where a horn could be used. The idea was to differentiate between false positives and tricky situations. For example, the different between a car driving the wrong way and another car performing a 3 point turn.
Google has also revealed that they have not only taught their cars to home but that there are different types of honk for different situations.
Again, and for example if a vehicle was reversing towards the Google car it would give 2 short pips in a “heads up” effect. However, were the situation to be more dangerous it would give a longer, louder and more pronounced honk.
Google stated that their goal was to teach their car to honk like a seasoned and patient driver.
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