Driverless car can interpret a cyclists hand signal


Legendary Member
Google patents a way for self-driving cars to understand a cyclist’s hand signals
A year ago, Google made an impressive announcement. Its self-driving cars were capable of interpreting the hand signals of cyclists.
Google didn’t offer much detail then on how this system worked, but a patent issued to the tech giant in April gives a window into how it plans to use machine learning to make self-driving cars a reality on city streets.

The patent describes using a combination of sensors — a camera, LIDAR and RADAR — to collect a mountain of data on the environment surrounding the car. From this data, Google’s algorithms can determine whether a cyclist is present, and then identify parts of his or her body. Once Google has identified a cyclist’s hands and arms, it can recognize signals and act accordingly. So if a cyclist sticks out his or her arm to indicate a left turn, Google can recognize the motion and adjust the car’s speed or direction as necessary.

First, the car has to know it’s dealing with a cyclist and not something else. Google says it could examine how the height of the potential cyclist compares with the average height of cyclists it has encountered previously. If the distance between the top of your head and the pavement is in a certain range, you’re probably riding a bike. It may also analyze heights of potential cyclists when they’re stopped at lights and straddling their bikes.

To determine whether a cyclist is turning instead of stopping, Google computers could compare the distance between the cyclist’s hand and head. A shorter distance between indicates a turn, whereas a longer distance probably indicates slowing or stopping. (This is a product of the hand signals most cyclists use.)

Arm Signal.png


Quite dreadful
lost somewhere
They might need the software geeks to expand the database a bit.


Well-Known Member
I am sure that auto drive cars will cause less of a problem than what we have to deal with at the moment toady. However, the fact that auto drive car takes the control away from the driver, it's unlikely (in my opinion) that we will see them spring to life as a cool thing anytime soon. Today a 17 year old boy can legally get behind a 2 ton 4x4 and drive it on the road, only adds to my point.... Do you think that 17 year old will let the 4x4 drive on its own, or will he want to drive it himself.


Cycling in the sun
That's all very well but I have a variety of signals for turning, everything from the clear hand out straight as shown to the small, diagonal finger out one to be let into a line of stationary traffic, and some do that signal all the time.

And I never do a I'm stopping signal!
Loch side.
Methinks a couple of recumbent riders will soon get crushed by GoogleMobile GTIs. The algorithm doesn't seem to recognize them.

Dan B

Disengaged member
[QUOTE 3680097, member: 9609"]I suspect autonomous cars will be very reluctant to go anywhere near a cyclist, they will probably just follow slowly for mile after mile, the danger will come from enraged motorist overtaking the autonomous car in blind rage.[/QUOTE]
Hopefully the cameras and radar and lidar in the atonomous car will all be on a recording loop and shown in court, and the enraged motorist will go down for a long time in a blaze of publicity that ensures nobody else is ever stupid enough to do the same thing. Although I remain sceptical

(If the auto auto makers start sharing their camera data showing how other cars around them are driving with insurance providers, we could see some very interesting things happen to premiums)


Legendary Member
NE England
[QUOTE 3680097, member: 9609"]
I also suspect cyclist will eventually carry some sort of transponder that communicates with vehicles.[/QUOTE]

That would require a change in gun law surely?
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