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Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Google’s self-driving car is something special but there are a number of interesting problems to overcome before it arrives at a broadly usable stage. Part of the vast interest in it is the assumption that eventually the driverless car will be a common sight on roads, and because of it road fatality numbers and insurance premiums will be lower. But before we get there, one or two significant roadblocks have to be negotiated.
Henry Blodget writing in Business Insider says the Google cars have safely logged half a million miles, but they are now facing three challenges. Google, it would seem, is confident about solving these potential roadblocks: driving in snow when painted road signs are covered up and can’t be read by computer “eyes”; driving on roads not yet logged into the Google system; and handling situations when traffic is not controlled by lights and signs but by people, like a cop at an intersection with failed traffic lights, or construction zones, places where how to drive and where to drive are determined by hand signals, shouts whistles, flags, drums, cones and signs on sticks.