Self-driving cars have led to big controversy, but according to a study made by Google they are better than normal cars: unlike vehicles driven by humans, autonomous cars get in one less crash per million miles, which makes them safer than usual cars. This means that over a longer period of time self-driving cars are 27 percent less likely to be involved in a car accident.
The study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute was commissioned by Google’s unit Alphabet Inc. The unit had reported several minor crashed in which the self-driving cars were involved. 17 crashes were reported in the last six years, but none of the happened because of the autonomous cars.
The study analyzed Google’s fleet which consists of over 50 self-driving cars. The fleet was logged 1.3 million miles in California and Texas in the self-driving mode.
According to the findings the severity of the crashes was higher in the case of normal vehicles compared to self-driving crash rates. The study first accounted for crashes that were not reported to the police and adjusted for severity. According to the law of California all crashes which involve self-driving cars must be reported to the police. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study conducted in 2015 discovered that about 24 percent of injury crashes and 60 percent of property-damage-only crashes are actually not reported to the police.
California even proposed state regulations in December according to which autonomous cars should have a steering wheel, brake pedals and throttle when they are operating on the public roads of California. This was the driver would be prepared in the driver’s seat in order to prevent anything wrong from happening.
Google disagreed with this rule, insisting that their self-driving cars are safe. The comapny argued that such a rule would not change things and would prevent technology from reching its full potential and moreover disfavor does who want to use an autonomous car even though they cannot drive.
It was found out that conventional cars are involved in 4.2 accidents per million miles, whereas autonomous cars are involved in 3.2 crashes per million miles.
Johnny Luu, a spokesman for Google, said that the company has asked Virginia Tech to develop a solid methodology in order to make an accurate comparison between conventional cars and self-driving ones.
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