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Google’s Self-Driving Car Is Learning How to Differentiate Kids from Adults on the Street

Halloween has been on everybody’s lips the past weekend, but for Google’s self-driving cars it was also detected by their sensors on board. At least that’s what the IT giant said the other day, when it announced its cars took advantage of the holiday to learn more about kids wearing “odd costumes” and kids in general.
Google's self-driving cars have learned how kids behave on the street 1 photo
Traditionally, we’re supposed to dress up in the scariest costumes we can find, considering the whole point about Halloween is scaring the evil spirits away. However, monsters and ghouls will not scare these autonomous vehicles Google has been testing on public roads for quite a while now. As a matter of fact, they’re supposed to learn from them.

“This week, lots of little ghouls, superheroes and even robots were running around Google with their families, so we asked them to hang out around our parked cars. This gives our sensors and software extra practice at recognizing children in all their unique shapes and sizes, even when they’re in odd costumes.”

Google’s purpose is to teach their cute bubble-shaped vehicles how to drive more cautiously around children. According to the company’s post, when the sensors detect children in the vicinity, their software understands that they may behave differently. Because, let’s face it, children’s movements can be more unpredictable than those of adults, not to mention they are easily obscured behind parked vehicles.

The California-based IT giant clearly has a good sense of marketing. What do car buyers fear for most, after all? Yes, you guessed it, the answer is children and their safety.

On the other hand, once autonomous vehicles are able to prove they can predict or react to children’s behavior on the street, that’s going to bring an enormous plus to the concept's already growing popularity.

Until then, however, you’ll probably want to know that both their modified Lexus SUVs and the new bubble-shaped cars have already self-driven more than one million miles and are currently out on the streets of Mountain View, California (Google’s HQ), and Austin, Texas.

 
 
 
 
 

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