Google’s self-driving cars could come out as early as next year, bringing a lot of attention to the recent road tests that Google has conducted with these vehicles. Interestingly, just days ago, Google released a report regarding the progress of these vehicles, noting that “after 1.7 million miles, we’ve learned a lot – not just about our system but how humans drive, too.”
Google Self-Driving Car Accidents: A Look at the Findings
According to Google researchers overseeing these road tests:
- Over the past 6 years (that such tests have been conducted), Google self-driving cars have only been in 11 minor accidents.
- In each of these accidents, Google self-driving cars were never the cause of the collision.
- While 7 of the reported collisions involved other vehicles rear-ending self-driving cars, two involved other vehicles sideswiping self-driving cars; one accident occurred when another motorist ran a red light.
- The sensors and algorithms used by the Google self-driving cars are statistically superior and less prone to mistakes than human motorists.
- The minor collisions and incidents involving human mistakes are contributing to improvements in the self-driving cars’ algorithms, making them even safer.
Google Self-Driving Cars: Can You Take Humans Out of the Driver’s Seat Altogether?
While the above findings certainly seem promising, some auto industry experts are questioning whether it will truly be possible to take a human out of the driver’s seat entirely. In fact, some have noted that real-world conditions may require the judgment and actions of humans, rather than total reliance on self-driving cars.
A notable example has been the case of pedestrian traffic and vehicles making right-hand turns. While a self-driving car will wait for all of the pedestrians to cross or clear the way, this could mean that these vehicles stay stopped for WAY too long (and maybe indeterminately) at busy intersections. This is where some have suggested that “remote repositioning” may be necessary (with remote repositioning essentially involving someone at a remote computer “repositioning” or “driving” the vehicle).
Clearly, there is a lot to consider with Google self-driving cars – and it remains to be seen how these vehicles will fair in the additional road testing to be conducted.
What do you think about these findings? Would you buy or feel safe in a Google self-driving car? Share your comments with us on Google+ and Facebook.
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