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Friday, August 10, 2012

Google's Self-Driving Cars Have Not Crashed and Killed Anyone Yet

Posted by on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Google has been running their self-driving car beta tests for a total of 300,000 miles now, and they have not yet had an accident, according to The Atlantic.

This technology is still at its very early stages and 300,000 miles is not all that big of a sample. According to a "cursory" analysis by Bryant Walker Smith of Stanford Law School, "Google's cars would need to drive themselves (by themselves) more than 725,000 representative miles without incident for us to say with 99 percent confidence that they crash less frequently than conventional cars. If we look only at fatal crashes, this minimum skyrockets to 300 million miles." We're still a long way away from there.

As someone who hates driving, I love the idea of self-driving cars. And it's pretty easy for me to imagine an America two or three generations from now in which every car is electric and self-driving. It's practically privatized public transit!

 

Comments (32) RSS

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Theodore Gorath 1
Hell, I don't feel like I am even really driving if I let the transmission do the shifting for me.

The magic of driving is controlling and soothing that powerful beast with a few deft movements of the hands and feet. Can't do that with an automatic, much less a self driving car.

What is our great nation coming to? Won't someone think of the children, who will never get the satisfaction of stopping over a ton of fast moving steel without touching the brakes?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on August 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
2
@1: The way I see this being used is more in an "assisted-driving" way. Just like cars are coming out that can park themselves, I think this will first be used for things like allowing super-human reaction times when emergency braking is required.
Posted by doceb on August 10, 2012 at 10:45 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 3
The last poll option is racist against robots, just so you know. Anyone who votes for it is a racist.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on August 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Report this
4
Think of how great it would be to have a self-delivering and self-returning Zipcar-type service. Also, I can't drive at night because the oncoming headlights are too bright, and this would solve that problem.
Posted by LMcGuff http://holyoutlaw.livejournal.com/ on August 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
5
@2: You are correct, this will start off as a driver assist. Just like adaptive cruise control, auto braking, and self park are available now. You're going to see cars 10 years from now have an auto drive mode for cruise control. 20 years from now, you may see completely autonomous cars. And 30-40 years from now you will start to see bans of non autonomous cars on certain roadways.

This does have tons of implications for privatized public transit. Imagine how much easier it would be to live without a car if you could log on to a website, put in your location and a destination, and a car came to you and just took you there.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on August 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
Zebes 6
I don't like the idea of being in a self-driving car. I do like the idea of submitting other drivers to them, though. I'd gladly hand over my keys to Chauffeurtron 6000 if it meant all those tailgating motherfuckers on I5 have to do the same.
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on August 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
7
It would work any place but Seattle, where staggering drunks would wander out of their caravans to throw rocks and scream curses at them "wheeled robots".
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 10, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 8
So if this does come to pass, and an (inevitable) crash occurs that kills a few people, who will get blamed? Who will get sued?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on August 10, 2012 at 11:11 AM · Report this
Scalpel 9
As a scooter/motorcycle rider I love the idea of being around cars that are actually paying attention to their surroundings, unlike the way it currently works in Seattle.
Posted by Scalpel on August 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM · Report this
10
I love to drive back roads and open freeway, but I would love to let the car handle the commute. I wonder what Cities will do for extra revenue when there are no more run red lots, speeding tickets, or DUIs because of cars doing the driving safely for you.
Posted by adameros http://adameros.livejournal.com/ on August 10, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Report this
11
@8

The laws will have to be written. Most likely they will be written in such a way that the insurance that you purchase will be liable to pay. It's no different than if you were driving, it's just less likely to happen.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on August 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM · Report this
12
@adameros

A lot of the savings will be from not having to pay for cops to enforce those things anymore.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on August 10, 2012 at 11:26 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 13
Mr. Gorath: Me, too! Lets be friends.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on August 10, 2012 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Fnarf 14
@8, this is why this will never happen in this US. It's not a technical challenge, it's a liability one. Every governing authority in the country will reject this out of hand. It doesn't matter if it causes fewer crashes; it only matters if it causes one.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on August 10, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 15
I despise driving, and I hate sitting in a car for any length of time, so take my words with a grain of salt. But I can't imagine that the people who are so brainwashed by Madison Avenue and the myth of the Open Road would be into this.

Also, self-driving or not, they would still take up space. They won't solve the congestion issues. and how are they fueled? They don't seem to help with air quality, either, unless they're electric or something.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay http://www.danlangdon.com on August 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
Where is the Ability to check more than one?

Remember, Google paid a fine of 0.005% of the profit they made from stealing and reselling your data if you used Safari or used an iPhone or iPad to Google even when you chose Do Not Track.

So, you should say "have not crashed or killed anyone THAT we KNOW of" ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on August 10, 2012 at 12:07 PM · Report this
17
What is Google's business? Search? No. Communications? No. All the YouTube you can eat? No. Automatic cars? No.

Google is in the business of selling advertising. The search, comms, YouTube, and cars are all lures to get you to look at their clients' ads.

You think pay-for-placement ads in your search results suck? Think about how pay-for-taking-over-your-windshield-and-car-stereo ads will *really* suck.

"The Google ads are presented in a heads-up display that will attract the undivided attention of the captive audience."

Also a threat: spammers figuring out how to inject false destinations into your navigation.

"Um, honey? Why are we at the Work From Home Phishy Boner Pill Store?"

"I don't know, but if we hit that target with our car, we get a free iPad."
Posted by rainbird on August 10, 2012 at 12:08 PM · Report this
18
Of course, that beats Microsoft, who would install Clippy as your driver.

"It looks like you need a personal injury lawyer. Would you like me to Bing that for you?"
Posted by rainbird on August 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
19
Something electric the size of a smart car that drove itself? Fuck yeah!
Posted by ishf on August 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 20
Ooo..just think of the car problems you get to have in a self-driving-mobile! Error #459767?! What? Why are you re-booting?? Why are the controls locked??? AHHHHH! *crash* *explode* (for some reason).

"If only I hadn't been browsing that sketchy porn site!" Is what I might say...
Posted by ArtBasketSara on August 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
21
@8: "who will get blamed? Who will get sued?"

You will. After all, you accepted all responsibility when you agreed to the Google Automatic Self-Driving Car End User License Agreement.
Posted by rainbird on August 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 22
Unlike Paul (and Dan Savage), I actually like driving. I always have. I don't like rush hour commutes, of course. Who does? But give me a car with a bit of zip and a stick shift, and I'm happy. Driving, traffic aside, is an enjoyable experience for me.

I'd miss it.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on August 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM · Report this
rob! 23
@8, 14, 21: implementation will be driven by actuaries and the lobbyists of the insurance companies they work for. If the data show a significantly lower accident rate for robot cars, automated-driving mode will be the default. If you wish to take over control yourself for some twisty back road, the satellite transponder will immediately implement a higher insurance rate for the duration of your funsies.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on August 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
McGee 24
So will we be able to sleep while the car drives its self? Like if I was driving to California could we drive all night and I could sleep like it was a train couchette? If so then I am for!
Posted by McGee on August 10, 2012 at 12:33 PM · Report this
Dougsf 25
Google Maps thinks my house is a block away from where it actually is. I hope these two technologies do not overlap significantly.
Posted by Dougsf on August 10, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 26
I agree with 5, but was thinking this morning while on my bike that self driving electric trolleybuses would be fantastic too.
Posted by Steven Bradford http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ on August 10, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
27
I'll give you my steering wheel when you can pry it from my cold, dead hands!
Posted by Aaron CM on August 10, 2012 at 1:13 PM · Report this
Posted by Phil M http://twitter.com/pmocek on August 10, 2012 at 2:13 PM · Report this
29
Up Next:

Self-Driving Bicycles for all the Self-Driving Cars to get stuck behind.
Posted by Senor Guy on August 10, 2012 at 4:45 PM · Report this
30
#14

Actually Las Vegas and other municipalities have already approved the Google Car for use on their roads.

It's happening now. As we comment.

Future transit could be roaming auto taxis taking you to the nearest light rail station or aeropolis.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 10, 2012 at 5:36 PM · Report this
TreGibbs 31
Great idea - assign one to each Asian in SF. The streets will suddenly become safe again.
Posted by TreGibbs on August 10, 2012 at 8:45 PM · Report this
32
"It's practically privatized public transit!"
Who needs a blue collar job anyway?
Posted by hairy butt on August 10, 2012 at 9:43 PM · Report this

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