fixed-gear bikes confuse Google’s self-driving cars

Google self-driving Lexus

Google self-driving Lexus

The cyclist recounted the encounter on an online bike forum:

A  Google self-driving Lexus has been in my neighborhood for the last couple of weeks doing some road testing.
Near the end of my ride today, we both stopped at an intersection with 4-way stop signs.

the car got to the stop line a fraction of a second before I did, so it had the ROW. I did a track-stand and waited for it to continue on through.

it apparently detected my presence (it’s covered in Go-Pros) and stayed stationary for several seconds. it finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing. the car immediately stopped…

I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. it stopped abruptly.

we repeated this little dance for about 2 full minutes and the car never made it past the middle of the intersection. the two guys inside were laughing and punching stuff into a laptop, I guess trying to modify some code to ‘teach’ the car something about how to deal with the situation.

the odd thing is that even tho it was a bit of a CF, I felt safer dealing with a self-driving car than a human-operated one.

This likely wasn’t the first time a Google self-driving vehicle has encountered a cyclist at a four-way stop.

The self-driving cars are notoriously careful, and tend to brake when anyone else is moving forward into the vehicle’s path. In a track stand, a rider on a fixed-gear bike may shift ever so slightly forward and back in an effort to maintain balance

While a human driver can easily see a rider doing a track stand isn’t going anywhere, Google’s self-driving car seems to be still be figuring that out.

So invent self-driving cars can operate in any environment is very difficult. The key lies in the Algorithm of how to understand what’s the car see , and respond appropriately

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