Google commissioned a study whose results were released on Friday. The study carried by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute concluded that the vehicles with a driver behind the wheels are more prone to accident than the self-driving cars.
Google self-driving cars safer?
Google’s self-driving cars have been reported to be involved in a series of minor crashes. The study considered only Google’s fleet, which has more than 50 self-driving cars. These cars have already traveled 1.3 million miles on the streets of Texas and California in self-driving mode.
Google said over the last six years its test fleet has reported 17 crashes, but none took place due to the fault of self-driving cars. The study adjusted for severity and accounted for crashes not reported to police, and concluded that cars with drivers behind the wheel were involved in 4.2 crashes per million miles while self-driving cars in the autonomous mode were involved in 3.2 crashes per million miles. The study found that at all severity levels, crash rates for the conventional vehicles were higher than the self-driving crash rates.
Virginia Tech received a request from Google “to look into the topic given the interest and develop a robust methodology to be able to make meaningful comparison between regular cars on the road as well as our self-driving cars.”
Other related studies
In October, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released a study, where it compared crash rates among self-driving cars of Google, Delphi and Audi in 2013, and found that their crash rates were higher than the conventional cars. However, the findings were limited as due to the low volume of driverless miles – 1.2 million vs. 3 trillion miles driven annually on the U.S. roads.
In 2015, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a study, and found about 60% of property-damage-only crashes and 24% of all injury crashes are not reported to the police. California law has made it mandatory that all crashes involving self-driving vehicles should be reported to the police.
In December, California proposed certain state regulations under which all autonomous cars will be required to have a steering wheel, throttle and brake pedals when driving on the California’s public roads. The rules also require a licensed driver to be at the driver’s seat all times to take control of the car if something goes wrong.