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Self Driving Cars Vs Human Drivers? Technology Explained!

Updated: May 18

In just a few years, well-mannered self-driving robotaxis will share the roads with reckless, law-breaking human drivers. The prospect is causing migraines for the people developing the robotaxis.



A self-driving car would be programmed to drive at the speed limit. Humans routinely exceed it by 10 to 15 mph (16 to 24 kph)—just try entering the New Jersey Turnpike at normal speed. Self-driving cars wouldn’t dare cross a double yellow line; humans do it all the time. And then there are those odd local traffic customs to which humans quickly adapt.



In Los Angeles and other places, for instance, there’s the “California Stop,” where drivers roll through stop signs if no traffic is crossing. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, courteous drivers practice the “Pittsburgh Left,” where it’s customary to let one oncoming car turn left in front of them when a traffic light turns green. The same thing happens in Boston.


During rush hours near Ann Arbor, Michigan, drivers regularly cross a double-yellow line to queue up for a left-turn onto a freeway.



In Los Angeles and other places, for instance, there’s the “California Stop,” where drivers roll through stop signs if no traffic is crossing. In Southwestern Pennsylvania, courteous drivers practice the “Pittsburgh Left,” where it’s customary to let one oncoming car turn left in front of them when a traffic light turns green.


The same thing happens in Boston. During rush hours near Ann Arbor, Michigan, drivers regularly cross a double-yellow line to queue up for a left-turn onto a freeway.


Driving customs and road conditions are dramatically different across the globe, with narrow, congested lanes in European cities, and anarchy in Beijing’s giant traffic jams. In India’s capital, New Delhi, luxury cars share poorly marked and congested lanes with bicycles, scooters, trucks, and even an occasional cow or elephant.


Artificial intelligence developed by Intel and other companies eventually could access the data and make quick decisions similar to humans.


Programmers are optimistic that someday the cars will be able to handle even Beijing’s traffic. But the cost could be high, and it might be a decade or more before Chinese regulators deem self-driving cars reliable enough for widespread public use, said John Zeng of LMC Automotive Consulting.


Still, some skeptics say computerized cars will never be able to think exactly like humans.


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