Google Driverless car, that is designed to take you anywhere on push of a button, is also capable of calling you for assistance in case it gets confused while driving, says a recent patent by Google.
While driving in autonomous mode, the computer faces situation where it becomes difficult to ascertain what to do next. In such scenarios, the computer will request assistance from a human by asking a useful question.
One such situation may arrive when the driverless car of Google approaches an intersection with a green light but no green arrow and attempt a left turn. The left turn in this case is unprotected due to the possibility of interference from oncoming traffic.
The car computer may request human guidance in such a scenario. It will make sure that the left turn would not interfere with, for example, cross traffic, or that no pedestrians may be crossing or about to cross the intersection, and etc.
The autonomous computer of Google houses a sensor unit to determine the situation of its surroundings. The sensors that include radar, LIDAR, sonar and powerful localization cameras work together to detect objects – pedestrian, cyclist, vehicles, road signs etc. – as far as two football fields away in all directions.
The car computer uses the cameras of its sensor unit to send a live video feed to the remote human along with the assistance request. The person on the other side analyzes the situation from the video and sends driving instruction to the car computer.
In above mentioned scenario, for example, the human assistant may verify that there is no oncoming traffic or no pedestrians crossing for an unprotected left turn and allow the car to proceed left turn. The driverless car will hold position until it receives a “release” from the assistant, reads one embodiment of the patent.
Google’s self driving car is capable of picking up and dropping off a passenger from/to anywhere. In this context, it becomes necessary for the computer to confirm from the passenger(s) whether all passengers have gotten into the vehicle or if all have fastened their seat belts or whether all doors have been closed. Further, after dropping someone off, it checks if a passenger has taken all of the belongings or not.
The car computer, in scenarios like above, seeks passenger confirmation to take the next step. The driverless car, for example, may interact with passengers through its user interface, through an app installed in their smartphone, or it may emit a verbal request.
The passengers, in reply, may select an autonomous driving instruction for the robotic chauffeur from the user interface or by giving a voice command.
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