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GM and Cruise Automation’s Self-Driving Bolts Head to the Big, Bad City Next Year

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Self-driving cars have been rolling around the streets of our country for some time now, and today’s self-driving fleet of Cruise Automation’s Chevy Bolts is a long cry from the adorable sub-25-mph koala-faced Google Pods. However, starting next year, those same Bolts will be facing a brand new challenge.

New York City.

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Batmobile in new York City

*Sounds of self-driving cars screaming*
Photo: Reda H

Pending the finalization of its application to operate in New York, GM and Cruise Automation plan to mobilize a fleet of their autonomous Bolts in lower Manhattan starting in early 2018, with the aim of learning from the city’s chaotic streets.

Mostly, though, it seems that what the self-driving cars will learn about is something we all got a lesson in on the elementary school playground: bullies. Speaking to Wired, artificial intelligence expert at Cornell University Bart Selman said, “Self driving cars behave conservatively, and follow all the rules, so there is a problem when humans push them and bend the rules.”

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This has already been a problem for self-driving cars—from the beginning, almost all of the crashes associated with autonomous vehicles have been rear-end collisions, where people didn’t anticipate the car’s strict adherence to the rules of the road. However, designers are adapting to these problems, making self-driving cars act more “human,” by, for example, creeping forward at four-way stops to make sure that they get to go, or exceeding the speed limit when it is safer to do so.

Selman summed up the balance that the cars need to strike to succeed: “Overall safety will go up, but you can’t make it too extreme or the cars will not move at all.”

News Source: Wired