Self-driving cars still have a long way to go
(Mirror Daily, United States) – With the futuristic industry ahead of us, a new study reported that self-driving cars apparently crash less than human-driven vehicles. It’s good news for the those who are still worried about their reliability. There are still years worth of work ahead, but any bit of praise is promising.
Researchers at the Virginia TechTransportation Institute (VTTI) released their newest research in regards to the upcoming driverless car technology. Their study arrived in the heel of several issues that have been reported lately. This includes spontaneous combustion, hacker intrusions, or restrictive legislation that most will not find comfortable.
The study was commissioned by Google, who already has a small fleet of 50 cars driving around the roads of California and Texas. The project began in 2009, with restricted paths through which the small, driverless vehicles could be tested. With more promising results and further permissions, the area stretched, and there are more streets travelled by the self-driving technology.
The first accident reported was 3 years after the project’s inception, in 2012. Until then, there were no issues with the autonomous vehicles that included other human-driven cars. Further down the road until 2015, Google reported only 17 minor accidents with their self-driving vehicles. The tech giant also claimed that not a single one of them was their fault. The blame was mostly placed on human drivers unsure how to interact with their vehicles.
That still amounts to a very small number of accidents in spite of the 1.3 million miles of travel in self-driving mode. In fact, according to the researchers at VTTI, after the adjustments for severity and unreported crashes, self-driving cars reported 3.2 crashes per 1 million miles. Human-driven vehicles, on the other hand, presented with 4.2 crashes per 1 million miles.
Of course, the researchers admit that their study is limited by the small amount of exposure of driverless cars to real-life situations. While it’s statistically significant, additional miles clocked in by the futuristic tech is needed. However, under two dozen crashes in 6 years is not a bad track record for a technology that has not been polished to its fullest potential. That will follow in the next 5 to 10 years.
Experts estimate that self-driving cars will appear on the roads within the next decade. More optimistic opinions see to a majority of them actually filling the streets by 2050 in developed countries. However, better and more accurate results will be published once the driverless cars register more miles on the road.
Until then, there will be time for the software to be tweaked and for human drivers to get better accustomed to their presence.
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