Google says most people are surprised by 3 things when they first ride in a self-driving car

There are three big surprises people usually have the first time they ride in a self-driving car, according to Google’s head of business for that unit, Jennifer Haroon.

At a South by Southwest panel on Sunday, Haroon said that when Google launches self-driving cars in new neighbourhoods, it aggressively seeks feedback from locals on how they feel about having the cars on their streets, how they would want to use them, and so on.

But one thing she pointed to was the difference in thinking between those that have tried out self-driving cars for themselves and those who hadn’t.

In particular, Haroon said there were three main reactions people usually have when sitting in the self-driving car for the first time.

  1. They comment on how boring it is (“To me, that’s good,” Haroon said).
  2. They are surprised by how much the car can see. Google’s cars have a 360-degree view at all times, with sensors that are able to see up to two football fields in all directions if not obstructed by other object, Haroon said.
  3. They begin to trust the technology quickly once they see what it can do, according to Haroon.

Haroon also admitted it was a tough day for Google when the first of its self-driving cars got into an accident that was its fault. But Haroon said that the team had made thousands of changes since then, and that it must be looked at in context of the millions of miles Google’s cars have logged.

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