The Self-Driving Car's Bicycle Problem: Bicycles turn out to be one of the most difficult problems for self-driving cars - IEEE Spectrum

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Robotic cars are great at monitoring other cars, and they’re getting better at noticing pedestrians, squirrels, and birds. The main challenge, though, is posed by the lightest, quietest, swerviest vehicles on the road.

“Bicycles are probably the most difficult detection problem that autonomous vehicle systems face,” says UC Berkeley research engineer Steven Shladover.

Nuno Vasconcelos, a visual computing expert at the University of California, San Diego, says bikes pose a complex detection problem because they are relatively small, fast and heterogenous. "A car is basically a big block of stuff. A bicycle has much less mass and also there can be more variation in appearance — there are more shapes and colors and people hang stuff on them."

MoBikeFed comment: Self-driving cars have the promise of improving the safety of automobile driving rather dramatically. But, it goes without saying that self-driving cars must operate safely around pedestrians and bicyclists before they are allowed on the road.

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