A cyclist and a self-driving Google car played a game of reverse chicken in Austin, Texas, this month. The cyclist, with the user name Oxtox, posted about his low-speed face off in the Road Bike Review forums.
Google has been testing its driverless cars on the public roads of Austin, and Oxtox ran into one as they both hit a four-way junction at the same time, and both stopped for the stop signs. Otxox did a track stand, which is where you balance the bike by rocking back and forth, so you can remain stationary without putting your feet down.
This confused the Google car, which kept edging forward, then stopping again as Oxtox’s track stand made it look like he, too, was edging into the intersection.
“It finally began to proceed, but as it did, I rolled forward an inch while still standing,” writes Oxtox. “The car immediately stopped. I continued to stand, it continued to stay stopped. Then as it began to move again, I had to rock the bike to maintain balance. It stopped abruptly.
“We repeated this little dance for about two full minutes and the car never made it past the middle of the intersection. The two guys inside were laughing and punching stuff into a laptop.”
We’ve written before about how other drivers are totally going to take advantage of Google’s cautious self-driving cars, and now cyclists are in on the game. It’ll be a long time, though, before cyclists and pedestrians start dashing out in front of cars, because we can never be sure if there’s actually a fallible human behind the wheel.