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Google’s self-driving cars could detect police

Google is working on a way to allow its self-driving cars to detect and respond to the presence of emergency vehicles.

‘One or more computing devices may identify a set of light sources from an image based at least in part on one or more templates, and may filter the set of light sources in order to identify one or more light sources corresponding to a potential emergency vehicle,” the patent application reads.

Essentially, the technology will use filters to detect the blue and red flashing lights used by emergency vehicles, and will identify which type of vehicle is approaching by the spacing of the lights. The car will then safely move out of the way of the emergency vehicle.


Google's self-driving car.
Google’s self-driving car, still under development. 


‘Autonomous vehicles may… use the cameras, sensors and global positioning devices to gather and interpret images and sensor data about [the] surrounding environment, for example, oncoming vehicles, parked cars, trees, buildings,’ the patent reads.

Google believes this technology will reduce delays for emergency vehicles as well as reducing risk for the road users needing to quickly make way for the vehicles.

The company announced that its self-driving cars had the ability to detect cyclists and interpret their hand signals earlier this year.

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