Wednesday, April 17

Stop, algorithm! Police officers are already taking on self-driving cars in the US

When a police officer orders us to pull over and turn off the engine of our vehicle, we know that it is usually not a good idea to try to flee. This, at least, is what most human beings think. But what happens if there is no human being behind the wheel?

nobody at the wheel. It has been now when it has gone viral, but on April 2 a curious video was recorded in which an agent stopped a vehicle that was circulating at night without its lights on. What that agent could not imagine is that the car was a vehicle without a driver. One of Cruise’s self-driving taxis operating in San Francisco.

As can be seen in the video, a police officer approaches the vehicle and, seeing that it has no driver, tries to open the door. Since he can’t, he gets back in the patrol car, at which point the self-driving car accelerates past the intersection and puts on its hazard lights. To the laughter of the attendees, the agents again stop behind the car and stand next to it.

Well done! Known the video, which was originally published on Instagram, Cruise has stepped out of the conversation explaining in Twitter that, according to them, the car acted correctly. The vehicle reportedly gave way to the police car and subsequently stopped at the nearest safe place. There, the agents were able to contact Cruise with a number that appeared on the screen.

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Attendance. For these cases in which a vehicle gives an error, Cruise has a telephone assistance and a communication button that allows you to contact the central. It would be something like the elevator phone. Using this method, the police officers were able to contact Cruise, who solved the problem remotely.

contingencies. The great challenge that the autonomous car has ahead are the unforeseen. Whether it’s a pedestrian crossing unexpectedly or an emergency vehicle that needs to pass urgently. For this last case, Cruise has been working since 2019 on an AI program that allows the car to be aware that it is being alerted by an emergency vehicle.

According to TechCrunch, the car stopping on the other side of the intersection was no accident. A Cruise spokesman says control of the vehicle was taken remotely when the company became aware the car was under investigation. With the warning of the emergencies, this was realized and the car was remotely asked to park in a safe place, which it did a few meters later.

challenges. Public address and siren warnings from emergency services are one of the challenges that autonomous vehicles face. Those responsible for Cruise themselves pointed out that the sound bounce off buildings makes it difficult for the car to understand if that noise is approaching or moving away and whether or not it should take it into account on its route.

Another of the challenges ahead are weather problems. The fog is hindering their work and, in fact, Cruise and Waymo are only allowed to circulate in San Francisco when the weather conditions are good or the fog and rain are fine enough not to create complications for these cars.

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Doubts. With a technology still in its infancy but that already has permission to operate on some streets of San Francisco, it is logical that doubts arise about how to proceed in these cases. Although Cruise offers a direct line to his headquarters, he asks the police to contact them before stopping the vehicle.

But it is not the only debate that has taken place in recent months. Who is ultimately responsible in the event of an accident when the autonomous driving systems are activated is still on the table. Mercedes, however, assured a few days ago that they will take responsibility if an incident of this type occurs when their most advanced autonomous driving systems are in operation, even if a person is behind the wheel.

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