Google autonomous car ‘drives like your grandma,’ CA resident says

Google Self-driving car
Google’s self-driving cars have been roaming the streets of California for several years (mostly) without incident. And so drivers in the area where Google tests these cars are likely the first to get used to sharing the road with automated vehicles.

That means California residents are also in a good position to evaluate the Google cars as “drivers.”

So do the robots really perform more efficiently than humans, or are we about to be faced with an onslaught of lane-hogging, tailgating, and road-raging machines?

Not the latter. Drivers don’t have to worry about overly-aggressive behavior from Google’s autonomous cars, although they might not be considered perfect replacements for humans by everyone, according to a local blog post unearthed by Vox.

One anonymous California resident said Google’s cars “drive like your grandma.” They’re apparently never the first to pull away from a stop light, they accelerate very gradually, and they don’t speed.

When making a left or right turn where visibility may be limited, the Google cars inch out very gradually, with multiple abrupt pauses, the poster says. And when they stop for pedestrians, the cars wait a few seconds after the people have finished crossing before proceeding.

This of course slows down traffic, and reportedly makes human drivers a bit annoyed. It’s at least better to be annoyed than trembling in fear of a potential robot overlord.

In fact, though, the cars’ behavior could turn into a liability.

When cut off by another vehicle, the autonomous cars simply slow down to make room. They don’t remain close to the incoming car or accelerate to close the gap, let alone tailgate or or raise a one-finger salute, as some humans might do in the same situation.

That means human drivers could come to view these self-driving cars as easy “targets,” and habitually cut them off. It’s also possible that a self-driving car programmed in this way could become paralyzed in situations where traffic or pedestrians refuse to yield.

All of that granny-like behavior does however seem to put human drivers and pedestrians at ease. People in the area surrounding the Google campus in Mountain View have apparently gotten used to the cars, and trust that they won’t go all Terminator on anyone.

“Other drivers don’t even blink when they see one,” the poster wrote.

Cars

Automakers are spending billions on self-driving technology people are afraid of

Automakers are spending billions of dollars on developing the technology that will power self-driving cars, but research shows consumers have no interest in giving up control. Will they ever recoup their investment?
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Mobile

Think iPhones can’t get viruses? Our expert explains why it could happen

If your iPhone has been acting strangely, then you may be concerned about the possibility it is infected with a virus or some malware. We take a look at just how likely that is and explain why iOS is considered relatively safe.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
Cars

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe gets a tech upgrade, keeps quirky styling

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLC coupe debuts at the 2019 New York Auto Show with an upgraded infotainment system that incorporates Mercedes' digital assistant. The SUV launches later this year with turbocharged four-cylinder power.
Cars

This modified Land Rover Discovery is heading to Africa to help fight malaria

A Land Rover Discovery will be used by the Mobile Malaria Project for a 3,900-mile trek across Africa to study malaria. The SUV is equipped with a mobile gene-sequencing laboratory, as well as everything necessary for serious off-roading.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.