We probably won’t see any of these any time soon in Costa Rica, but it would be interesting to see how the Google-Fiat self driving cars would perform locally.
Tuesday’s announcement said the that the union will more than double Google’s self-driving fleet, with the first of 100 driverless 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans on the road by the end of 2016.
Google says it is not selling or licensing any of its technology to Chrysler Fiat, Bloomberg notes. Rather, it’s working with the company to make sure the vehicles are specially designed to accommodate the software.
Fiat has presence in Costa Rica. And so does Google. Both companies have local knowledge of the challenges of driving in the country.
So, let’s suppose for a minute that the two giants would be brainless enough to want to make these cars work in Costa Rica. Would the software respond to the Ley de Transito (traffic law), the official rules of the road or the “ley de la calle” (laws of the street), which is what pretty much every driver in Costa Rica knows and applies?
What would happen at an intersection? a stop sign? a traffic light, would it pass on red or green? Remember, the traffic law says no need to stop for a red light between 10pm and 5am, the law of the street says it depends on the situation.
What about the ‘reversible’ lanes of the road to Heredia or the Ruta 27 on some weekends? Will the Google Fiat Pacifica know?
One of the nightmares I can see coming are the confusion of drivers, seeing a vehicle ahead or behind them following the official rules of the road. A left turn signal (or any signal), not passing on the shoulder, what about not blocking the intersection on a red light. Or, and this is a big one, staying within the speed limits. I mean.
The software would have to keep in mind motorcycles passing on the right, on the left, in between; pedestrians dashing across the autopistas; buses making a stop in the middle of the of the highway, even if there is the rarity of a bus bay.
What about the strange traffic light system at the east side of the Sabana part, entrance to Paseo Colon? Train crossings? Oh yeah, the ‘platina bridge”? And the potholes, that are making a comeback?
I can see a big protest coming, the taxi drivers will soon start blaming Google Fiat Pacifica, instead of Uber, for their drop in business, demanding the Aresep to cut the feed to the self drive cars.
These are just few of the examples of the “challenges” of driving in Costa Rica. Is the Google Fiat Pacifica up to it? Are the people in Costa Rica up to it? I think not on both counts.