Google has been testing self driving cars for quite some time, and the company’s cars have been part of several accidents during that time.
However, despite all, Chief Director Chris Urmson says that Google’s self-driving vehicles are safer than normal vehicles.
Speaking at an event in Michigan, Urmson said that accidents involving Google’s self driving cars are due to human driver error.
Until today, Google’s vehicles have covered almost 2 million miles, and have been hit 14 times during that time. Following the recent accident that happened on July 16, Google has taken a serious hit about the safety of the vehicles. There has been lots of criticism, and the vehicle even made its way to the Jimmy Fallon’s show where the guys had several “punchlines” about Google’s car.
Putting that aside, Urmson was quick to say that the vehicle is as safe as possible, and that the accidents show the growing problem of human distraction.
There’s been a lot of noise recently in the press about the fact that our vehicles have been in collisions. We’ve been hit 14 times over the lifetime of the program, and there’s been a bunch of speculation about that – said Urmson during the event.
During the event, Urmson showed video examples of few situations where Google’s self driving cars triumph standard cars driven by humans. Some of the video examples included a woman in a wheelchair chasing a duck and people jumping from trucks.
The duck example is one of the best ways to show the vehicle’s sensors. In the video, a duck was scampering across an intersection. The duck was followed by a woman in a wheelchair. And while human cars might look for a safe opening, Google’s car will wait until the sensors don’t notice impediment. As long as there are obstacles on the road, the self driving car will not move.
The second example was at an intersection with three lanes of traffic. As the vehicles in all three lanes were about to proceed since the light turned green, Google’s car waited. The self driving car was positioned in the far right lane. From the left, there was a bicyclist who wanted to shoot through the intersection, no matter the fact that he was faced with a red light. The first two lanes were occupied by human driving cars, and the cars moved, forcing the bicyclist to find a way to avoid them. Google’s vehicle held its position. The reason is simple: one of the sensors caught the cyclist and his speed.
Chris Umrson concluded that Google’s vehicles are learning the road and with more and more hours of testing, they will eventually be ready for the market. Google’s Chief of self driving cars added that the cars operate at a constant speed on the highway.