Monday, November 20, 2023

Stay Right

The two signs shown below, from Kettering, Ohio, apparently serve the same purpose, to make a driver aware of a medium.  There are dozens of both types and no apparent reason why one was chosen over the other, however, one is correct and the other literally wrong.  The one on the right would suggest that the lane is shifting to the right ahead of the medium, which is not the case.  The only reason one would swerve like that is if they were straddling a portion of the lane coming in the opposite direction.  

Why might this matter?  Probably not to the average human driver, but to a self-driving Tesla, it has resulted in moving its car from the left lane to the right lane, presumably because it's taking the sign on the right literally and obeying the direction to move right.  But confounding this explanation is the possibility that the medium is so low and similar in color to the street that the Tesla can't "see" that reliably when it first "sees" the sign.  It's a good reminder not to trust self-driving 100% and always be ready to take control at a moment's notice.

Big shout out to Nick for bringing this self-driving puzzle to my attention.

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