Google: self-driving cars safer than professional drivers

Google has said that its data reveals self-driving cars are safer than any human driver on the road.

Google has said that its data reveals self-driving cars are safer than any human driver on the road.

(Google Self-Driving Car image by Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0)

Speaking at the RoboBusiness robotics conference in California last week, Google director of self-driving cars Chris Urmson said that the data collected from Google's self-driving Lexus and Prius cars reveals that the cars are better drivers than humans, MIT Technology Review reports.

Urmson had already noted in a blog post in August last year that, at that time, the cars had collectively driven over 482,700 kilometres without causing a single incident . The new data shows that when the cars are being driven by human operators, they accelerate and brake more sharply than when driving themselves — and that the software is better at maintaining a safe distance behind other cars.

"We're spending less time in near-collision states," Urmson said. "Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers."

Google's self-driving cars have been involved in a total of two traffic incidents to date: in August 2011, a Google car rear-ended another car near Google's Mountain View, California headquarters; and in 2010, another car rear-ended the Google car while it was stopped at a traffic light. Both incidents were the fault of human drivers.

Car Tech
About the author

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.


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