Drivers who are enthusiastic about car safety have also been enthusiastic about self-driving cars. After all, some of the most prominent figures behind the development of autonomous car systems have promised their systems will help to keep the number of crashes low, mostly because they will remove the human error from the equation.
According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, human error is behind 94 percent of all car crashes. Some of the most common errors include intoxicated driving, speeding, distracted driving, and drowsy driving.
With this information in mind, self-driving proponents tell critics they believe that a system that takes on the task of driving will eliminate human errors, and the road safety issue will be effectively over. But will it?
According to a recent report, it make take a much longer time to determine whether autonomous vehicles are truly safe. That’s due to the fact that safety advocates and regulators as well as car makers would have to test these systems hundreds of millions of miles, or even hundreds of billions of miles so researchers could gather the information necessary to compare the results to human driving records. According to the study, this type of study would require researchers to look into the technology for decades or even “hundreds of years.” To a certain extent, these researchers say that it’s simply impractical to make this work in before companies are ready to mass product the devices.
In 2013, officials registered at least 2.29 million injuries tied to auto crashes. At least 32,028 fatalities tied to auto crashes were also registered during the same period. While the numbers are staggering, the NHTSA reports that American drivers travel 3 trillion miles annually.
The most any company working on self-driving vehicles has put into test driving amounts to about 1.3 million miles, and even that took several years.
According to data provided by researchers from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, self-driving cars are nearly five times as likely to get involved in crashes as those operated by human drivers. According to the group of researchers, there was also a high number of injuries per crash tied to self-driving cars when compared to normal traffic crashes. The difference is that none of the incidents tied to self-driving cars led to fatalities.
In most cases, the self-driving cars were rear-ended.
If you would like to know more about these researches and how the self-driving technology could be difficult to decipher in the future, follow this link.