In a latest revelation about its autonomous-car project, Google has unveiled that its self-driving car would honk. Google has been adding horn to its autonomous cars because it could have many uses.
Google said that when the situation will demand then the car will honk. In fact, the cars will honk differently on the basis of situation. To cite few example, if another is slowly taking a reverse towards us then the sound would be two short, quieter horns just to inform the driver that we are behind.
But if the situation demands and there is an urgency then a loud and long horn will be used. By having a horn in the car, Google said that it does not mean that you would start honking at people. A general trend is human drivers honk at completely inappropriate times. Therefore, a trend of a polite beep would be considered as a welcoming change.
Google has also announced that being an electric car, its autonomous vehicles don’t make noise. Google has just one accident to report the past month. On May 4, its autonomous vehicle has hit a median at 9mph. It was not the software’s fault but of human occupant. Damage was minor and no other vehicle was involved.
According to a report in The Verge by Chris Ziegler, In the latest monthly report on its self-driving car program, Google reveals that it’s been training the cars to honk at the absent-minded humans around them when the situation demands. And they even honk differently depending on what’s going on: “We’ve even taught our vehicles to use different types of honks depending on the situation,” the report reads. “If another vehicle is slowly reversing towards us, we might sound two short, quieter pips as a friendly heads up to let the driver know we’re behind. However, if there’s a situation that requires more urgency, we’ll use one loud sustained honk.”
But you can’t just flip a switch and let a robot car start honking at people. Google says that it first only honked the horn inside the cabin, so test drivers could observe the situation and note whether a honk was actually appropriate or not. Ironically, actual human drivers mostly honk at completely inappropriate times – at least here in New York City – so a polite, considered beep from a self-driving car would be a welcome improvement.
A report published in the CNET News said, “Every month, Google releases a report on its autonomous-car project. Some updates discuss simple topics, like where the cars are operating or how many miles were driven. May 2016’s report has that, but it’s also got some interesting little tidbits, like the fact that Google taught its car to use its horn. The horn isn’t just there to help you vent your frustrations. In fact, it can be used in a variety of helpful ways, and that’s why Google’s introducing horn usage in its autonomous cars.”
Google also used May’s report to discuss its engine note, or the complete lack thereof. As an electric car, Google’s autonomous vehicles don’t make noise. Thus, to provide some proof of existence to the visually impaired, Google’s given its car a little “hum,” which it built based on inspiration from other vehicles, consumer electronics and even art. The report also states that the company previously experimented with orca noises, which is a little… strange.
‘At first, we only played the horn inside the vehicle so we wouldn’t confuse others on the road with a wayward beep,’ shared Google in a monthly report. ‘Each time our cars sound the horn, our test drivers take note whether the beep was appropriate, and this feedback helps our engineering team refine our software further.’ ‘As our honking algorithms improved, we’ve begun broadcasting our car horn to the world,’ according to a news report published by Daily Mail.
‘Our prototype mimics the sound characteristics of traditional cars, such as increasing the pitch when it accelerates, and decreasing the pitch when it decelerates,’ Google said. And the firm took this one-step firm by incorporating more familiar sounds to give the vehicles a personalized voice. Google said they tested the sound of an orca, consumer electronics and ambient art sculptures to create ‘a voice that matches our face’. The Mountain View firm is currently testing a fleet of self-driving cars in the western part of the US.