Self-driving taxi gets confused, stubborn (Video)

Ut oh… Could this be an obstacle to fully autonomous cars becoming mainstream by 2024?


In Chandler, AZ earlier this month, a Waymo self-driving taxi car became confused when it encountered construction cones on the street. Not only was it stranded on road not knowing where to go, but it also attempted to allude a worker from the company’s roadside assistance team who subsequently arrived to help.

“You better hurry up, it’s going to escape,” the passenger inside warned the Waymo worker.

Then, as the human driver approached the vehicle, the Waymo car drove away again.

Fortunately, after encountering even more construction cones further down the road, the car ground to a halt and allowed the Waymo worker to access it and drive the paying passenger to his destination.

Gaffes were galore.

“The first one was understandable. The second was strange. The third one was jaw-dropping and the fourth one I threw up my hands,” Noah Goodall, a University of Virginia scientist who researches vehicle communication and automation, told CNN Business.

Construction sites have proven to be a bit puzzling for self-driving vehicles because they rely on detailed maps of their environment to navigate safely. When the environment changes, via lane or road closures, or areas sectioned off by cones, it can struggle to comprehend what’s happening.

Incidentally, Waymo has remote workers who can provide information and directions to the self-driving vehicles but cannot take manual control of the vehicles from a remote location.

Waymo operates a limited ride-hail service in Chandler, Arizona, and recently its mayor insisted self-driving cars were ‘easily’ safer than humans behind the wheel.

Waymo and GM’s subsidiary Cruise have both applied for permits to begin charging for rides and delivery services in San Francisco. Earlier this week, Reuters reported the two rivals had not disclosed when testing will get underway, but state documents have been seen that confirm their respective applications.

Waymo, which will continue to use modified versions of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Jaguar I-Pace EV, will begin with “driver operations,” meaning there will be a human driver behind the wheel in case something goes wrong.

Good idea, huh?

Cruise, on the other hand, plans to go completely human-less from the start.

Self-driving taxi gets confused
Tags: driverless cars