Neither humans nor computers are perfect. But in terms of driving, the self-driving cars are winning.
What is something that I remember just seeing on the Disney Channel’s “Kim Possible,” self-driving vehicles are actually being tested, primarily in California and Nevada. Google reported yesterday that over six years of testing, their self-driving cars have been in only 11 accidents – over 1.7 million miles of driving, and the accidents were minor and no injuries were reported.
I would look at the same six-year span for the states of California and Nevada and how many accidents there were for cars driven by people, but according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in 2009 alone there were 2,816 fatalities in the heavily-populated California, and 223 fatalities in Nevada. Those are people who died, while Google’s self-driven cars haven’t experienced any injuries at all.
The two major companies dealing with self-driving cars are Google and Delphi. Google owns 23 self-driving Lexuses. In California, there are nearly 50 self-driven cars, and there have been four accidents since September alone. Two of which were when the car was driving on its own, and the other two when the human took control of the car.
While it still appears to be a flawed system, the machines have the upper hand – as 11 accidents in a six-year span is a phenomenal success rate. I know someone who has had 6 accidents in an 8-month span, so it’s easy to see which system of driving could be most beneficial in the future.
Surely, a self-driving car would be more calculated and always go the speed limit so you might get places slower, but that’s better safe than sorry. It might take away the charm of road rage, but it also takes away the risk factor on load road trips like the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
Instead, the owner of the car could just sleep and then wake up at their destination. The idea of relaxing while the car does all the work for you seems like a great deal, and possibly a much safer option, as well. Though, when crashes do happen, and if it’s just testing and there’s not even a passenger in the car, the angry person who was just hit might think that it’s a phantom car. It could turn into a funny situation.