Google self-driving car news: Patent puts pedestrian safety first

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Google has been granted a patent (Patent #: US009196164,granted 11/24/15) recently that allows their self-driving cars to interact with pedestrians on the road.

Google’s cars will flash a stop sign on its side doors when it is about to move forward, according to the abstract of the patent. This is to let pedestrians know not to cross the street. In addition to light signals, the patent also includes alerts like audio notifications and a robotic waving hand.

“For example, the vehicle may include sensors which detect an object such as a pedestrian attempting or about to cross the roadway in front of the vehicle.

“The vehicle may then provide a notification to the pedestrian of what the vehicle is going to or is currently doing. For example, the vehicle may include a physical signaling device, an electronic sign or lights, a speaker for providing audible notifications, etc,” the patent describes.

Google wants pedestrians to feel safe and reassured when interacting with its self-driving cars.

Google’s self-driving cars have been tested for more than one million miles now. The company’s main goal is to improve interaction with pedestrians. This is important since pedestrians always have the right of way.

Google is facing competition from automakers in terms of self-driving cars. Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz all have plans to have self-driving cars in the future.

Formula E and tech company Kinetik are already working together on the first self-driving racing car. The partnership is planning to launch a new racing event called “ROBORACE” intended to take place during the 2016-2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Denis Sverdlov, founder of Kinetik and “ROBORACE,” believes that future cars will be powered by AI and electricity which will positively impact environment and road safety.

“ROBORACE is a celebration of revolutionary technology and innovation that humanity has achieved in that area so far,” Sverdlov added on the FIA Formula website.