The recent emergence of autonomous vehicles has left many drivers concerned. A number of people feel that federal testing standards and protocols have not been stringent enough and have left room for too much interpretation, resulting in some cars being publicly released without appropriate testing.
However, despite the lenient regulations, recently gathered data shows that self-driven cars are safer than their human-driven counterparts.
Autonomous Car Data
Between 2014 and 2017, researchers collected data on the number of autonomous car accidents that occurred in California. California has 36 companies that have been granted permit authorization to perform autonomous car testing. As a result of this authorization, the self-driving car industry is rapidly expanding.
Because of artificial intelligence (AI) built into the cars, metrics can be easily recovered during car accidents. Thanks to this AI, researchers were able to track the speed at which the accidents happened. The data uncovered 34 accidents involving self-driving cars in California.
Surprisingly, the results showed that most of the accidents occurred when the autonomous vehicle was at a standstill or operating at less than 10 mph. In many cases, the self-driven vehicles were rear-ended at stops signs or red lights. These findings led researchers to believe that human error is directly responsible for the crashes.
Autonomous vehicles were responsible for an accident only one out of every four times and in only one of those incidents was the car set to autonomous mode. During the other incidents, a human was manually operating the vehicle. Self-driving cars have a manual mode, which allows a human to drive them. In six out of ten accidents in manual mode, the cars were in autonomous mode up until the accident, at which point a driver resumed manual mode due to safety concerns.
Researchers say that humans will continue to cause accidents on roads due to impulsive driving maneuvers. People tend to make last minute driving decisions, such as running red lights or yield signs. Sudden lane changes and not using a blinker or headlights are other common mistakes drivers often make.
Autonomous vehicles are less likely to make illegal or impulsive maneuvers. The awkward tango between human drivers and artificially intelligent self-driven vehicles will continue to be a complicated one as long as both are on the road.
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