Google’s Self-Driving Cars at Maximum Risk from Human Drivers
A post that appeared on the social platform, Medium, this Monday, highlights the growing risk posed to Google’s self-driving cars, by reckless human driving.
The Google Self-Driving Car is a project by Google that involves developing technology for autonomous cars, mainly, electric cars. The software powering Google's cars is called Google Chauffeur. Lettering on the side of each car identifies it as a "self-driving car". Google plans to make these cars available to the public in 2020.
Google is one of the seven companies in the state of California that have obtained permits for self-driving cars. There are 48 vehicles approved for testing and 269 people permitted to drive them. Google, presently works with a fleet of around 20 cars, wherein it has covered 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving already. Now, on an average, these cars run some 10,000 miles of autonomous driving in a week, mostly on the streets of California.
These self-driving vehicles have been associated with 11 accidents in the last six years. However, none of these have been fatal and none of the accidents was caused by the Goggle car. It was either hit from behind when the car halted at traffic lights or just when the light was about to change.
What is commendable about these cars is their 360-degree visibility and sensors that precisely locate cyclists and pedestrians. They are also not influenced by smartphones and other in-car disruptions, something which gravely hampers a driver’s concentration. Thus, these autonomous vehicles are much safer than human-steered ones.
An additional feature housed in these cars is their response to negligent driving. For example, to account for the possibility of another driver running a red light, Google has programmed its cars to pause after a light turns green before proceeding into the intersection.
Thus, through its sensors and software, a Google car can take action faster than an alert human driver can.
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