If you thought road rage was bad enough already, it's about to get worse. Google is taking the act of screaming at pedestrians to a whole new level.
Self-driving cars have been under development for a while now, and it looks like they're closer than ever to becoming regulars on the road. But, there are several concerns about driverless cars, one of them being safety for pedestrians.
In the most recent tests, Google's self-driving cars have been tested over 100,000 miles without any accidents. They've even made the cars drive more cautious around kids. That's probably better than most teenage drivers — but still, Google wants to ensure that the cars are even safer.
As an added precaution, Google has filed a patent for high-tech screens and speakers that will allow the cars to communicate with pedestrians. These screens will be capable of flashing messages like "Stop" or "Safe Cross" to notify pedestrians of the car's intentions. Plus, the speakers will vocalize these messages and other warnings.
Ok, it's not really road rage, but it is something new. Pedestrians and cyclists aren't really used to being talked to by cars. It will take some getting used to.
This brings us one step closer to the day when driverless cars share the roads with us. But, even though many of the driving tests have been successful, studies still indicate that driverless cars are more likely to be involved in an accident than other vehicles.
It's not their fault, the same studies claim. Although self-driving vehicles had an average of 9.1 total crashes, compared to 1.9 crashes for regular vehicles, a recent report indicated that these crashes were caused by other drivers rear-ending the driverless car.
The report also explains that tests so far have been restricted to areas that were determined safe. The study's authors, Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak, hope to produce more definite results as testing is expanded on the vehicles.
For now, they claim, "We currently cannot rule out, with a reasonable level of confidence, the possibility that the actual rate for self-driving vehicles is lower than conventional ones."
Watch this video to see the cars in action: