Google's driverless cars are 'safer' than humans
Google's autonomous cars are better at maintaining a safe distance and braking than human drivers
October 24, 2013
Google's self-driving Prius and Lexus cars are safer than humans driving cars, according to the leader of Google's autonomous-car project.
Chris Urmson told a robotics conference in California that Google's cars were smoother and safer than cars driven by professional drivers.
He said: "We’re spending less time in near-collision states. Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers.”
He presented results from two studies which looked at data from Google's cars on public roads in California and Nevada, which showed when a human was behind the wheel, Google’s cars accelerated and braked significantly more sharply than they did when piloting themselves.
The cars' software was also proven to be better at keeping a safe distance between vehicles than human drivers could.
In one test, a Google car was hit by another driver and the car's data was used to create an annotated map of the surroundings which proved what happened. Urmson added: "We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. “The guy around us wasn’t paying enough attention. The data will set you free.”
Google has been testing its cars on public roads since 2010, and ensure there is a human in the driver’s seat who can take over if necessary.
It has plans for a new dashboard display for its driverless cars, which would help people understand what the autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.
The company said it is thinking about different ways of bringing the cars to the market.