The day of robots taking over humans predicted by the movies is at least a couple of decades away. At the moment, humans are taking over the robots and giving them a tough time on the roads.
Google’s self-driving cars are being tested in public since 2009. According to the company, the cars have met with at least 16 confirmed accidents so far and in every incident, a human was at fault. Their cars are designed to strictly follow the rules on the road, which humans don’t; that led to minor accidents now and then.
In a particular incident which took place recently, the vehicle slowed down in order to allow a pedestrian to cross the road. While its automatic sensors could easily sense it from a distance and took the necessary safety measures, a sedan which was controlled by a person hit the car from the back. The Google employee who was inside the autonomous car, recording its data got minor injuries and was rushed to the hospital.
Clarifying the incident, the company issued a statement in which they said that the car slowed down and was designed to apply the brake, a couple of feet before the crossing lane. The employee, however, decided to manually apply the brakes a bit earlier, which may have caused the sedan to slam into it.
In other words, the self-driving car was not at fault, but a human, who was seated in it, according to Google. In another incident, the self-driving car faced a human driven sedan on a four way intersection and came to a halt. It was programmed to move only when other cars stood still but the driver continued to inch forward, looking for an opportunity to move, and it confused the robot driven Google car.
Such incidents have been reported multiple times. Analysts who have been studying self-driving cars said in a report that while practical issues like malfunctioning equipment and hacking attempts deter such cars from becoming mainstream soon, it is people’s attitude on the road that poses a greater threat at the moment.
Based on their culture and the country they live in, humans are aggressive on the road and an autonomous car, be it from Google or any other company cannot survive unless they are programmed to sync with the way people drive in each country. Being “too safe” on the road will deter these cars from being adopted by the public, added the report.