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image: Menno van Dijk/Getty Images

It’s No Use Honking. The Robot at the Wheel Can’t Hear You

October 10, 2017

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As auto accidents go, it wasn’t much: twelve minutes before noon on a cool June day, a Chevrolet Bolt was rear ended as it crawled from a stop light in downtown San Francisco.

What made this fender bender noteworthy was the Bolt’s driver: a computer.

In California, where companies like Cruise Automation Inc. and Waymo are ramping up testing of self-driving cars, human drivers keep running into them in low-speed fender benders. The run-ins highlight an emerging culture clash between humans who often treat traffic laws as guidelines and autonomous cars that refuse to roll through a stop sign or exceed the speed limit.

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