Print 47 comment(s) - last by HrilL.. on Aug 14 at 1:25 PM

*While under computer control at least

Ever since Google launched its self-driving project back in 2010, the company has been working out the kinks with self-driving cars. The ultimate goal is to create technology that allows vehicles to drive passengers to any location without driver input. Google is testing fleet of these vehicles in Nevada and California, and has recently announced that its self-driving vehicles have accrued over 300,000 miles.
During those 300,000 miles, not one of the vehicles has been in an accident, at least not when under computer control (one Google self-driving automobile was involved in an accident while under human control).
When the project was initially launched two years ago, Google noted that 1.2 million lives were lost each year in traffic accidents and the search giant hoped to develop technologies to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities. The national average accident rate in 2009 within the United States worked out to about .366 per 100,000 vehicle miles driven.
Google has given its cars an edge on the accident front by operating them in environments that are easy to tackle. For instance, Google's automated fleet drives on mostly dry roads in moderate conditions. Google does want to begin testing its vehicles in harsher conditions, such as snow in the future.

Analyst Brian Walker Smith from Stanford Law School says that it is still much too early to say unequivocally that automated vehicles are safer than human driven vehicles. "Google's cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars,” Smith concluded. “If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles."
Automated vehicle technology still has a long way to go to win approval with drivers and state and local authorities. So far, Utah is one of the few states to allow automated vehicles to drive on public roads.
While fully automated vehicles may be a long way away, many automakers are starting to integrate technologies that will automatically stop a vehicle when an impending accident is sensed. Cadillac has also unveiled technology that will steer a vehicle and operate the brakes and throttle in traffic.

Source: The Atlantic

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RE: I hope they make it
By ArcliteHawaii on 8/13/2012 6:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure your ability to drive yourself isn't in danger of being affected for the next 30 years or so. However, once self driving cars are mainstream and statistically proven to be less accident prone than humans, human driving will become more regulated and more expensive. It may take a couple of decades to get the technology right, but I think it's a forgone conclusion a computer will be a superior driver than a human given that it will have 360 vision, faster reaction times, can be programmed for the correct avoidance response for multiple incoming vectors, never gets drunk or sleepy, etc. etc. The government will probably mandate that most mass produced cars at least have the option for self driving, even if they are capable of manual driving. And insurance companies will increase your car insurance if you choose to drive yourself, or may even refuse to cover you at all like some housing insurance refuses to cover houses in flood zones for example since they are too high risk.

RE: I hope they make it
By Reclaimer77 on 8/13/2012 7:17:35 PM , Rating: 2

The scenario you describe is a literal nightmare. What a horrible horrible future to have to live in. You're talking yet another massive blow to freedom and liberty, courtesy of Government mandates.

Anyone who thinks that's an ideal situation is a seriously mentally disturbed person. We'll just have to hope that something drastic happens to prevent the travesty.

RE: I hope they make it
By Iaiken on 8/14/2012 11:34:19 AM , Rating: 2
You're talking yet another massive blow to freedom and liberty, courtesy of Government mandates.

You don't even need the government mandate for that to happen, market forces will make it happen as insurance companies will eventually either refuse to insure human drivers, or charge them such ridiculous rates that only the rich could afford it.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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