With the safety of the self-driving car project, Google has just taken a positive leap forward
The Google self-driving project has proven it’s safety record. Google submitted a glowing Vehicle Disengagement Report to the California DMV this January. The safety of their Waymo self-driving cars leaped by 75%, from their results in 2015.
In additions, the report reveals that in 2016, human disengagement of autonomous cars was dramatically reduced. Of 635,868 miles traveled on public roads, a human driver needed to take over the wheel on only 124 occasions. In 2015 driverless cars traveled 424,331 miles on public roads. Moreover, during that time drivers had to interrupt the automation 341 times.
Dimitri Dolgov, head of Waymo’s self-driving technology, claims this as a gigantic move forward. Technological advances in their cars aim to avoid the 94% human error that is the reason behind all car crashes. Furthermore, of the 124 human disengagements, 10 resulted from the recklessness of other drivers.
Others are merely part of the testing process
Meanwhile, testers are perfecting the software deviations. They are monitoring and correcting unnecessary maneuvers that the vehicle makes. Above all, the purpose is to tweak any AI perception discrepancies.
Skeptics showing concern about self-driving cars bring up serious concerns. However, developers like Waymo incorporate these concerns into improving safety. In the past, testing never took place in extreme weather.
The AI had problems with recognizing things like temporary traffic lights, pot holes, and harmless debris. Regrettably, the cars were failing to stop for police officers signaling for them to stop. Many times, autonomous vehicles would unnecessarily default into “extra caution” mode.
Google appears to be way ahead of the game
This recent report seems to suggest that these issues are being successfully addressed. Comparatively, General Motors “Cruise” experienced 414 disengagements last year.
They only covered 10,000 public miles. Ubër, a major competitor to Waymo doesn’t have available stats. At this point, they are not required by law. Therefore, no comparison is available at this time.
Waymo CEO John Krafcik hopes that autonomous cars will be available to the public by 2020. Presently, the safety improvements over the past year point to this being the case.
Waymo was originally known as the “Google Self-driving Car Project“
Google transferred their project under their parent company, Alphabet Inc. As a consequence, it received its new name. Google began the self-driving car project in 2009. But it was in 2015 that the first autonomous drive took place on a public road.
So confident were Waymo of the safety of their cars, their first test passenger was legally blind. In September 2015, Steve Mahan traveled alone in a Way self-driving car. It had been 12 years since he had driven alone in a car. The road was not closed from other drivers. He also had no police escort. As a matter of fact, the car navigated pedestrians, cars, and intersections.
Waymo’s technology involves sensors and cameras which monitor the road. The car’s computers contain data accumulated to create more effective AI. The more they drive, the safer they become.
All it takes to get from a to b in a self-driving car is to program where you want to go, into a tablet, and you are on your way. These are exciting times we live in. Ultimately, our dreams for the future are materializing before our very eyes.
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