Currently, there are not many places in the world where unmanned vehicles are allowed. San Francisco in the United States was one of the first cities where local authorities allowed such experiments, and now there are even taxi services without drivers.
Since the “learning” of artificial intelligence will take a long time, you can not do without mistakes and oddities. These are usually little things such as delaying traffic in front of a pedestrian crossing or driving in the evening with the headlights off (there was a case when such a car was stopped by local cops and the were a little surprised, because no one was behind the wheel). But, unfortunately, there are more dangerous situations.
In early April, at 4 am, an SFFD fire truck was on call. In front of it on the road was a garbage truck, which firefighters tried to bypass, driving the oncoming lane. But there was an autonomous car Cruise (General Motors), which simply stopped and did not move, thus blocking the road. In that case, any driver would drive back, clearing the way for rescuers, or orient himself in advance, and leave room for the maneuver of special equipment. But the “robot” was confused.
The road was cleared by the driver of the garbage truck when he saw something was wrong and gave way to a fire truck. But as a result of this situation, according to firefighters, such a delay led to unnecessary injuries and greater destruction of property of the victims. The Fire Department has again contacted the California Public Utilities Commission, adding that Cruise cars often stop in public transport lanes, which delays rescuers.
General Motors spokeswoman Tiffany Testo confirmed that such an incident did take place. According to her, the autonomous car responded correctly to the approach of the fire truck, stopped and contacted the technical department of the company, where it is possible to remotely direct the car. After analyzing the recordings of cameras and other sensors on the car, the company saw that the firefighters continued to move 25 seconds after the “meeting” with the Cruise car.
Tiffany also added in a statement that the company is cooperating with firefighters and contacted them about the case. Although the appeal of the fire department states that the meeting proposed by them has not yet taken place.
According to the developers, it is impossible to predict and prepare an autonomous car for any situation, so such non-standard situations may occur in the future. That is why companies invest additional resources in people who can remotely control machines in such cases.
Cruise cars can now carry passengers from 10 pm to 6 am, but cannot drive in rain or fog. Also, they can not move throughout the whole city, and cover about 70% of its territory. City drivers are concerned that these cars may stop in public transport lanes. In addition, the software provides for the disembarkation of passengers in the lanes, if the situation on the road allows it.
Besides General Motors, San Francisco also has self-driving cars from Alphabet and Amazon.