Google has come to the rescue of their self-driving cars, after reports claimed they were…
WASHINGTON: Over the course of 2015, Google’s self-driving car project clocked an impressive 2.09 million kilometers (that’s a little over 52 times the circumference of the Earth.) While, for the most part, things seem to have gone off relatively well, these autonomous cars were reportedly involved in 17 accidents. Interestingly, it was learnt via a report released by Google that 10 of these accidents would have been caused, had it not been for the timely intervention of human test drivers. This report is required to be released, in compliance with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) law.
The report revealed that test drivers disengaged the self-driving system on 69 separate occasions during the period between September 2014 and November 2015. Probing further reveals that the Self Driving Car (SDC) wouldn’t necessarily have caused an accident on each of these occasions, but Google has a simulator that can predict what might have happened had a test driver not intervened.
Google describes this simulator as such: “To help evaluate the significance of driver disengagements, we employ a powerful simulator program — developed in-house by our engineers — that allows the team to “replay” each incident and predict the behavior of the self-driving car (had the driver not taken control of it) as well as the behavior and positions of other road users in the vicinity (such as pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles).”
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Drilling down, the simulator revealed that of the 69 events mentioned earlier, the SDC would have made contact with an object on road on 13 occasions, out of which the self driving system would have been at fault in 10 of these.
While this doesn’t appear to be a large number, it still goes to prove that the reality of self-driving cars is still a while away.