Google explains how their self-driving car project takes on common occurrences on city streets in Mountain View, California like road construction, stopped vehicles, and railroad crossings. Their software can detect cyclists moving in and out of traffic, and can even manage busy intersections with pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles.
As it turns out, what looks chaotic and random on a city street to the human eye is actually fairly predictable to a computer. As we’ve encountered thousands of different situations, we’ve built software models of what to expect, from the likely (a car stopping at a red light) to the unlikely (blowing through it). We still have lots of problems to solve, including teaching the car to drive more streets in Mountain View before we tackle another town, but thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously.