Biking alongside manually driven cars can be a nightmare for both the biker and the driver. Bikers can be fast. They weave in and out of traffic and sometimes human drivers toe the line when deciding how much space to give them — and sometimes they don't. But now, thanks to Google's many in-house bikers, the company's self-driving car not only knows how to navigate around cyclists but can recognize, understand and remember their hand signals.
"Cyclists often make hand signals far in advance of a turn, and our software is designed to remember previous signals from a rider so it can better anticipate a rider's turn down the road," Google wrote in its monthly self-driving report.
This is an important aspect for a self-driving car that shares the roads with pedestrians and manually driven cars. While automakers and tech companies can outfit a car with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology to enable communication between two cars or between cars and things like traffic signals, communicating with a pedestrian is much more difficult.