In a major step forward, Google has successfully taught their prototype self-driving car to understand several common road hand-signals, including ‘wanker’, knobhead’, and ‘swivel on this.’
The breakthrough is an essential piece of progress in ensuring the car can understand the intentions of other road users such as cyclists, cabbies and truck drivers.
Gestures understood range right up to an extremely complicated Italian hand motion which loosely translates as “Your mother was a harlot who was known intimately and repeatedly by the entire 1987 Inter Milan football team”, which developers say is absolutely necessary to successfully navigate traffic in Naples.
Several gestures used in South American countries remain beyond programmers capabilities to translate, because cars do not possess the requisite number of orifices.
“It’s important for safety reasons that the self-driving car understands the intentions and communications of other road users”, high programmer Simon Williams told us.
“There’s a clear difference between a short, vigorous jerking motion of a loosely-gripped fist and a long, slow knobhead gesture from just above the eyes.
“We’ve also managed to get the car to understand what the letter ‘L’ means in the context of being made with finger and thumb on the forehead.
“It’s vital the car knows this when the contextual road-use system decides whether it’s going to ram you or not.”