Published in Transportation

Waymo’s self-driving car can follow hand signals

by on22 February 2019

Will not run over the cop.

Waymo's self-driving cars will now be able to use AI to detect and respond to the arm movements of a traffic cop as they wave traffic through an intersection.

Waymo first claimed that its autonomous vehicles could respond to hand signals from nearby cyclists back in 2016. That particular research treated cyclists, from the vehicle's perspective, as obstacles to track and avoid.

A new video published by Waymo shows its vehicles responding to gesture commands -- especially in the absence of the traffic lights on which it would typically rely -- and obeying police orders.

The video, which runs at three times normal speed, shows a picture-in-picture display of the car's digital perspective and a video camera as it goes through an intersection.

The video shows the car approach the intersection where a virtual red wall blocks off the road, suggesting that the computer's software responds to the absence of green light at an intersection the same way as it might to an illuminated red light.

The cop in the video, represented by a small prism, teeters across the virtual representation of the intersection before finally waving the Waymo vehicle's vehicle through the intersection and along its way.


Last modified on 22 February 2019
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