Self-driving cars may be making traffic worse, unable to understand human behavior

Self-driving cars contribute to traffic congestion and could potentially be hazardous due to their inability to comprehend human behavior. A new study indicates that these autonomous vehicles, often promoted as the transportation of the future, struggle to interpret the subtle human social signals that inform driving decisions.

A key example of this issue focuses on deciding whether to yield or proceed in traffic – a decision that humans typically make swiftly and intuitively. However, self-driving cars consistently fail to interpret human behavior in traffic. As a result, their reactions can lead to traffic congestion and aggravate other road users, according to the award-winning study from a team at the University of Copenhagen.