Google's self-driving cars are safer than a human driver

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

Google's self-driving cars have now logged over 482,700 kilometres on the road without causing a single accident.

(Credit: Google)

That doesn't mean there haven't been incidents. One of the cars was rear-ended in San Francisco in 2010, and one caused a five-car pile-up in California last year — but both of these seem to be the result of human error, as the car in the California incident was being manually driven at the time of the accident.

Chris Urmson, engineering lead on the project, said in a blog post:

We're encouraged by this progress, but there's still a long road ahead. To provide the best experience we can, we'll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter. As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work. This is an important milestone, as it brings this technology one step closer to every commuter. One day, we hope this capability will enable people to be more productive in their cars. For now, our team members will remain in the driver's seats and will take back control if needed.

The self-driving system seems to be getting closer to production. In March of this year, a self-driving car successfully ferried a blind man on a shopping trip, and the state of Nevada issued the first licence to one of the Google vehicles in May.

If it brings down the number of traffic injuries and fatalities, we can only see it as a good thing.

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gen_x posted a comment   

All the car has to do is be able to determine the velocity of all moving objects around it and it should be able to stop itself from collision courses. So this eliminates the car from being responsible for any crashes... if other's who are not using it make mistakes, then that is their fault, but at least those with the new feature will reduce those they cause.

What I want to know is what happens if you turn such a feature on and then "try" to crash the car. technically it should be impossible. Any attempt to try to ram into anything should cause the cars breaks to engage in enough time to stop collisions. This would include attempts at side swiping, with the steering wheel refusing to turn if turning would bring it into a collision course with another car.


Wazza89 posted a comment   

Although the concept is great it would never work properly unless all cars were fitted with auto drive so they could talk to each other. There is no way the cars would be able to conceive for other driver errors and hence crashing.


JoelC2 posted a comment   



JerryB posted a comment   

"and one caused a five-car pile-up in California last year — but both of these seem to be the result of human error, as the car in the California incident was being manually driven at the time of the accident."

Not according to 6 eye witnesses to the event.


WilliamT2 posted a comment   

I love it. I don't have or need a license with one of these. I tell it where to go and if it speeds it gets the ticket instead of me ^_^


TonyM7 posted a comment   

If a google car has an accident, who would be liable?


KiranM1 posted a comment   

This is quite good. . Seems like they are bound to be mainstream. .


JohnN5 posted a comment   

This is so cool. It's one of those things that i think will actully end up becoming mainstream. because i think since the invention of the car, we have proven one thing; humans are not the best drivers. and in todays world there are so many things to distract drivers that there is an ever incressing amount of wreckless and dangerous driving. everything from putting on eye linner, eating and drinking at the same time, talking on your phone, texting on your phone, playing angry birds on your phone and even useing an easy bake oven while behind the wheel.

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