Google has posted this update on their self-driving cars, explaining how "city driving is much more complex than a mile of freeway driving." Amusingly, despite "hundreds of different objects moving according to different rules of the road in a small area," it turns out that "what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer." From The Atlantic, Eric Jaffe looks in detail at the incredibly smooth performance of the vehicle.
Over the next few minutes the autonomous vehicle makes several maneuvers that someone less privy to Dolgov's first rule would have been tempted to compliment. We go through a yellow light, the car having calculated in a fraction of a second that stopping would have been more dangerous. We push past a nearby car waiting to merge into our lane, because our vehicle's computer knows we have the right-of-way. We change into the right lane for a seemingly pointless reason until, a minute later, the car signals a right turn. We go the exact speed limit because maps the car consults tell it this road's exact speed limit. The car identifies orange cones in the shoulder and we drift laterally in our lane, to give any road workers more space.
Between you and me: amazingly smooth.
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