Honking isn’t the most pleasant sound in the world, and I’m sure you hate it even more if you live in a densely populated area with lots of traffic. But a car’s horn can be critical for avoiding dangerous situations, and can even be used in a friendly way (to an extent).
To make its self-driving cars better and safer, Google is teaching them to honk when necessary. The cars can give short honk bursts to warn people that the car is there, like if someone is backing out of a blind driveway, or it can honk continuously to avoid a dangerous situation.
The honks were first played only in the cabin so the drivers could note if the honk was done appropriately, but now the cars are able to honk out loud. Google aims for this honking to be as polite as possible, so you likely won’t hear a Google self-driving car laying on the horn anytime soon. Keep beeping, self-driving cars.