Waymo needed to rescue an autonomous van that was confused by security cones | Urban Mindfest

Programming a pc to grasp and navigate roads designed for human drivers is tough. Just ask Elon Musk. Not often, nevertheless, can we get to see simply what number of issues can go improper when an autonomous automobile encounters a scenario it does not know tips on how to deal with. A 35-minute video from Joel Johnson (through Autoblog), a YouTuber who shares clips of his journeys with Waymo One in Arizona, presents a uncommon glimpse into an ideal storm of errors.

About 12 minutes into the video, Johnson’s automotive desires to show proper onto a multi-lane road. Sadly for Waymo Driver, the rightmost lane was closed, with development cones marking the obstruction. After the automotive stalls, uncertain of what to do subsequent, a Waymo consultant contacts Johnson to inform him Roadside Help is on the way in which. Earlier than assist arrives, the automotive all of a sudden strikes to finish the flip, solely to cease between lanes. It then makes the scenario worse by backing up just a few toes. “Now it’s blocking the whole lane instead of half of it,” Johnson says dryly of the event.

At this level within the video, a development employee in a flatbed truck comes to gather the cones that had confused Waymo Driver. Proper as help arrives, the automotive darts away from the scenario solely to come across extra cones and ship out one other name for assist. Earlier than a human driver can lastly board the automotive and drive Johnson to his vacation spot, Waymo Driver tries to dart away once more.

Waymo claims staff cannot remotely management a automotive. As an alternative, they’ll solely supply Waymo Driver solutions on tips on how to navigate a difficult scenario. After encountering an “unusual situation” (the development cones) and asking for assist from a distant specialist, the corporate says, “the Fleet Response team provided incorrect guidance.” That is what led to the scenario escalating in the way in which it did.

“While the situation was not ideal, the Waymo Driver operated the vehicle safely until Roadside Assistance arrived,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement to Johnson. “Throughout, Waymo’s team was in touch with the rider, who provided thoughtful and helpful feedback that allows us to continue learning and improving the Waymo Driver.” If there is a silver lining to the episode, it is that Johnson received a free experience (and an entertaining video) out of it. Waymo, in the meantime, says it is already studied what occurred to enhance “our operational process.”

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