The technology that makes self-driving cars unemotional (they don't get angry or have road rage) is showing up in human-driven cars with forward collision warning and automatic braking systems. However, Professor Rowe believes cars could use some help with detecting cyclists.
"Cars have a very regular pattern with the way they move, whereas when people are riding bicycles they change between either acting like cars on the side of the road," says Rowe, an associate engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University. "They might switch and become pedestrians and go up on the sidewalks. They tend to move in a slightly more erratic way. It's much harder to predict."
Rowe would like to endow bikes with the ability to feed information to cars, now and in the completely sutonomous future.
"What we're trying to do is put as much instrumentation on a bike as we can to see if we can predict how it's going to move in the future, so that it could, for example, signal a collision warning system on a car," he says.While Prof. Rowe thinks self-driving cars will make the future a lot safer for cyclists and pedestrians, he thinks a little help from bikes could compensate for weaknesses while humans are the primary pilots.