San Francisco, United States, is the city with the highest percentage of kilometers completed by autonomous cars worldwide. Taxi theft accidents have reduced their fleet in the city, but what does the data say?
In the search for a future of more efficient and safer mobility, autonomous cars have burst onto the automotive scene. However, questions arise about their level of safety compared to human drivers.
To explore the safety of autonomous cars in depth, comparative data from various reports and related data throughout the history of the implementation of autonomous cars in 2023 will be taken as a reference.
If you remember the latest incident in a video of Elon Musk with his Tesla, which fortunately did not end in an accident, or the reports leaked from Germany from the same company, we can understand the concern that exists around the safety of the autonomous car. However, even Bill Gates assures that they will be the majority in 2030.
Waymo and Cruise, two leading companies in autonomous driving technology, have accumulated almost 13 million kilometers of driverless autonomous driving, with more than 6 million on the busy streets of San Francisco, United States, in 2023. Transparency is key, as California law requires these companies to report all significant incidents.
According to Arstechnica, 102 accidents were recorded involving autonomous vehicles from Waymo and Cruise, but this must be evaluated in the context of 9.6 million kilometers of autonomous driving, which is equivalent to one accident every 96,560 kilometers. However, in August, San Francisco announced that it would reduce the fleet, precisely because of the accidents.
However, For an average human driver, this data would reflect one accident in about five years of driving.. Additionally, most incidents were low-speed collisions that did not pose a serious safety risk.
Waymo, excellent track record
Waymo, in particular, has maintained an impressive safety record. Most of their incidents involved other drivers colliding with the autonomous vehicles. In one case, a motorcyclist lost control, and in another, a distracted driver crashed into a Waymo vehicle while looking at his phone.
There were no serious accidents in which Waymo was at fault, so it can be assumed that its vehicles, in this case, would be safer than those driven manually by humans, with all types of accidents.
Cruise, necessary improvements
Cruise, while demonstrating solid technology, has had a few more notable incidents. There have been collisions where Cruise vehicles have made mistakessuch as changing lanes without enough space or colliding with a city bus due to the software’s inability to deal with articulated buses.
Crossings and intersections have been a critical point. Compared to Waymo, Cruise has experienced more crashes caused by other drivers in these situations, which could be attributed to differences in autonomous driving strategies.
So, Although self-driving cars still have room for improvement, available data suggests they are on track to surpass human drivers in safety.. The evolution and mass adoption of this technology could change the way we think about safety on the roads.