Self-driving cars are quickly becoming a reality. Since 2016, Uber has launched self-driving programs across the United States. They’re a big technological advancement, but they may not be well received by the general public, or at least people don’t always react kindly when they come upon them.
According to Eric Meyhofer, the head of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, cameras mounted on the cars have caught people “bullying” them.
“We’ve seen people bully these cars — they feel like they can be more aggressive because we won’t take a position on it, or we’ll allow it,” Meyhofer said, according to The Telegraph. “You’re on video but still people do bully them, and that’s a fascinating thing to see where people are testing the boundaries of what they can do to self-driving.”
The bullying that Meyhofer refers to includes people making rude gestures, driving really close behind the cars and challenging the cars to brake.
There have been other cases where people have extreme reactions to self-driving vehicles. In December 2018, a man went so far as to pull a gun on a Waymo self-driving car in Arizona.
In this case, “bullying” might be a stretch. The rude gestures are annoying, but the road rage could lead to potential problems and the entire situation opens up interesting questions about how people engage with machines that they come across on a daily basis and how self driving cars will be received as they creep more into our lives.