Autonomous Cars Need to Figure Out How Humans Drive
ATLANTA, GA — Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) recently discussed how autonomous vehicles need to learn how to interact with human drivers. Apparently, this is not as simple as it should be. Human drivers are unpredictable and can easily confuse a computer which is programmed to follow the rules of the road.*
Who knew confusing a computer would be so easy? Experts agree that when self-driving, or autonomous cars, operate on a typical road, under normal driving conditions, the computer can operate the vehicle safely and efficiently. Inject the unpredictability, instability, and impulsiveness of a human driver in the equation, andthe self-driving car does not respond the way one would hope.
Companies have dropped hundreds of millions of dollars into developing a safe and reliable autonomous operating system. The cars have driven millions of miles in test drives. By and large, the results have been acceptable. The computers fail when something happens for which the programmers have been unable to account.
Who can blame them? Human drivers swerve, cut off, brake erratically, and pull other kinds of stunts that makedriving frustrating and unpredictable. Consequently, programmers have focused some of their efforts on trying to decipher predictable behaviors of human drivers and feed that data into the autonomous vehicle. The undertaking is nearly insurmountable. The researchers developing this technology must account for innumerable variables of the human species and try to teach the autonomous cars to react correctly. This could take some time.
The researchers place their test subjects in a full-sized car surrounded by 360 degrees of video monitors. The researchers record the data generated by the scenarios the driver of the simulator encounters. Then, the scientists will create algorithms based on that data with the goal of teaching the computer how to drive like a human.
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