Google’s technology uses a forward-facing camera system to scan traffic in front of the vehicle, looking for changes in colour at the rear of cars ahead.
Based on the oscillations of light, the car’s software would determine whether the indicators or hazard lights are flashing, and respond accordingly.
The indicator-recognition system is designed to make driverless motoring safer, along with a series of other recent Google patents that include a bus identification system and pothole recognition.
While attempting a right-turn, the Google vehicle collided with a bus at low speed after trying to maneuver around some sandbags that were obstructing its path.
Detection systems such as this will help to make driverless motoring safer, increasing the autonomous vehicle’s ability to react in real-world situations and earn the public’s trust in self-driving technology.
With the car’s capability of identifying indicators, along with being able to recognise different types of vehicles such as buses, the vehicle’s software is more likely to evade accidents such as that experienced with Google’s driverless car - situations thatwould be obvious to a human driver and easily avoided.