By now, autonomous cars have entered the national consciousness in a big way. Although they’re still a ways off from widespread production, the good news just keeps on coming. Yesterday, Google, a company that’s been at the forefront in developing such technology, announced that they reached 300,000 test miles without an accident taking place.
That would technically make self-driving cars about twice as safe as a vehicle driven by a motorist. A new report estimates that American citizens will face a crash situation about every 165,000 miles driven. They deduced this by combining Allstate statistics showing an accident affecting a person roughly every ten years with Federal Highway Administration data showing a yearly driving average of 16,550 miles.
More testing remains to be done, however. Although Google has taken their Prius test vehicles all across the state of California with a driver in-car who can take over should something go wrong, there are still some challenges that must be conquered before the technology can be made available to the public.
First, the technology will have to be tweaked and tested to ensure that it works in instances where the streets are covered by snow. Plus, instances of construction and the temporary signals put in place at those times must also be interpreted by the cars in order to ensure safety.
There are numerous situations that could present a challenge, but Google plans to tackle those obstacles soon.