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Communications of the ACM


I Don't Understand My Car

vehicle heads-up display interface, illustration

Credit: Getty Images

Someday, perhaps, streets and highways will host only fully autonomous vehicles, wirelessly communicating and following algorithms that let them handle any situation they encounter. For now, though, city streets are filled with pedestrians, bicyclists, delivery trucks, double-parked cars, emergency vehicles, and construction crews, as well as human-operated cars with issues of their own.

In this chaotic setting, self-driving cars face additional challenges beyond rapidly analyzing the complex environment and navigating through it. They also must keep their distracted occupants informed of issues potentially requiring attention. Equally important, they must continually coordinate their actions with humans, whether in other cars or on the street.


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