Multiple news agencies have revealed that the new autonomous car, also known as Google Driverless vehicle, has completed 300,000 miles of test-drives.
The reports are promising, showing that the average American driver pales in comparison to the response and efficiency of a robot driver; at least that is what Google claims.
Reports show that the road tests were performed in a wide variety of conditions specifically because engineers wanted to test the response of the robot behind the wheel. Engineers also claim that no accidents occurred in any of these recent tests, although minor incidents were reported in the past.
The average American driver is involved in some type of auto accident every 165,000 miles, while the new, driverless Google car didn’t experience any accident while completing 300,000 miles of tests.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the figures were obtained by gathering data associated with the average American driver’s mileage per year that was discovered to be 16,550 and the average time drivers take to be involved in crashes, which was observed to be a 10 year-period.
Safer cities have safer drivers who usually go longer than ten years between accidents. According to the news, some of the most recent tests are being run on Lexus RX450h vehicles but most of the tests have been running with the help of Toyota Prius vehicles equipped with cameras and sensors. Laser range-finders are also used so the robot is able to see the traffic surrounding the vehicle. The software developed by Google Maps navigates routes without any human intervention.
For all of the tests, a pair of human drivers was designated to stay behind the wheel at all times. In case the system shuts down or a malfunction is detected, the drivers can take over.
Although the routes of these newer tests are not openly revealed, two years ago, the Google driverless vehicle drove from the Silicon Valley to Santa Monica, maneuvered down the Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge and managed to navigate the Pacific Coast Highway going as far as all the way around Lake Tahoe.
At this moment, engineers and developers in Google are proud of their work and hope to have these systems being used by more motorists so accidents can be prevented soon.
Google engineers are now testing other types of roads and hope to master other weather conditions like heavy snow and rain. Another concern is the interpretation capacities of the autonomous vehicle systems. Engineers are worried that the vehicle may not interpret cones and construction signs, which is also something they must master before the vehicle is ready to be taken to the consumer level.
Until all of these factors are mastered, Google will continue to have drivers behind the wheel to take up driving in case they have to.
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