Creating the future of intelligent automobiles means more than making a car that looks cool. Numerous issues and technical challenged need to be met before driverless vehicles hit the road. For instance, Google's Self-Driving Car Project has only lately tackled the surprisingly sophisticated issue of honking, according to MIT.
Researchers have discretely road-tested a series of horn algorithms—making the honks only audible inside of the car so they don't accidentally antagonize other drivers. But now, Google thinks its horns are ready for the real world. The sounds will mostly be used to alert other drivers of mistakes, like turning the wrong way down a one-way street.
The car has two distinct honking styles: two short beeps for a friendly heads-up alert, and a louder, longer horn for emergency situations.
"Our goal is to teach our cars to honk like a patient, seasoned driver," wrote Google in its latest monthly car report. "As we become more experienced honkers, we hope our cars will also be able to predict how other drivers respond to a beep in different situations."
Outta My Way! How Will We Translate Google’s Self-Driving Honks? [MIT Technology Review]