Google has patented new technology that allows its autonomous car to recognise hand signals given by cyclists.
The tech giant is one of a number of companies, including car manufacturer Audi, which is racing to get its self-driving technology to market. It has been conducting extensive field tests around its Californian HQ for well over a year.
The technology uses a combination of sensors, including radar, lidar and a camera, to allow the vehicle to determine its position on the road and detect potential hazards, the Washington Post reports.
The sensors are accurate enough to not only differentiate cyclists from other forms of traffic, but also to correctly identify individual body parts. Once the vehicle has detected a cyclist's hands and arms it can understand any signals given and act accordingly.
Google is currently developing its sensors to detect cyclists more easily, based on factors such as their height and distance from the pavement. To accurately read different signals, the system may also need to be sophisticated enough to gauge the distance between a cyclist's hands and head.