Waymo’s driver­less cars to be­come ‘more as­sertive’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Technology Intelligence - By Olivia Rudgard in San Fran­cisco

WAYMO is to make its driver­less cars less po­lite, as it ad­mits they need to be more “as­sertive”.

The driver­less car com­pany, a sub­sidiary of Google’s par­ent com­pany Al­pha­bet, an­nounced yes­ter­day that its ve­hi­cles had driven 10 mil­lion miles on pub­lic roads, in 25 US cities.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive John Kraf­cik said the cars were “pro­grammed to be cau­tious and cour­te­ous above all, be­cause that’s the safest thing to do”.

“We’re work­ing on strik­ing the bal­ance be­tween this and be­ing as­sertive as we mas­ter ma­noeu­vres that are tough for ev­ery­one on the road.”

The cars have at­tracted crit­i­cism in ar­eas where they are ap­pear­ing on pub­lic roads. Some have com­plained about cars stop­ping sud­denly or hold­ing up traf­fic be­hind them at junc­tions.

Most of the test­ing so far has been with a hu­man in the driver’s seat, to in­ter­vene if the car does some­thing po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous. But the com­pany has also be­gun test­ing with­out backup driv­ers.

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