Self-driving vehicles get into fewer crashes than cars driven by human drivers states a study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, released on Friday.
Alphabet Inc’s Google unit had commissioned the study which looked at Google’s 50 self-driving cars. These cars have driven 1.3 million miles in self-drive mode in the states of Texas and California. In the last six years, 17 crashes occurred and none was the fault of the self-driving vehicle.
The study estimates that for every million mile driven by human drivers, there are about 4.2 crashes as opposed to the 3.2 crashes that the autonomous vehicles experienced reports Reuters.
At all severity levels, the self-driving cars were involved in less crashes than the human driven cars.
Johnny Luu, a spokesman for Google, said that Virginia Tech was asked to perform this study to develop a way to compare the new autonomous cars to the traditional vehicles driven by humans so that comparisons are meaningful.
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.
Last year a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute found that crash rates among self-driving cars from Google, Audi and Delphi were higher than human driven cars.
However, it is estimated that 60 percent of crashes involving property only and 24 percent of injury crashes are not reported to authorities.
In California, where much of the testing is being done, it is mandatory to report all crashes involving autonomous vehicles.
New proposed California state regulations also mandate controls be placed in vehicles so that in the event of computer error, a human driver can take over.
Other safety features have been implemented, such as tiny windshield wipers for the cameras to allow the self-driving vehicles to drive in the rain. This technology has not had much road time, however, as it has been quite dry in recent times in California according to NBC News.