Scenes from the street

Each month we’ll give examples of situations we encounter on the road

May 2015

Responding to Emergency Vehicles. ​Our vehicles understand that emergency vehicles behave differently than ordinary trucks, cars, and motorcycles — and that we need to behave differently around them. In this example, our car was stopped at a stoplight. Our light had turned green, but we detected an ambulance approaching from the right (the purple rectangle with two little red and white symbols on top), so we remained stopped as it passed through the intersection.

Interesting Situation of the Month. ​Self-driving cars are good at keeping track of multiple moving objects at once, even at night — skills that were on display in this situation involving two cyclists.

The two red rectangles are cyclists; the red trails behind them indicate the path they’ve just traveled. The cyclist on the left had entered the left turn lane, but veered back into our path to continue straight across the intersection. At the same time, the cyclist on the right entered the intersection, traveling against the flow of traffic. That cyclist then took a sudden left turn, coming directly at us in our lane. Our car was able to predict that cyclist’s path of travel (turquoise line with circles) so we stopped and yielded. This happened at night, when it would have been very difficult for a human driver to see what was unfolding.

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