Google’s autonomous Prius and Lexus cars are much more safer than cars driven by humans, the leader of Google’s autonomous-car project claims.
During a robotics conference in California Chris Urmson told reporters that the company’s self-driving cars appeared to be smoother and safer than cars driven by professional drivers, Mashable claims.
He said: “We’re spending less time in near-collision states. Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers.”
He proved his words by presenting results from two studies which examined data from Google’s cars on public roads in California and Nevada. The sudies showed that when a man was behind the wheel, Google’s cars accelerated and braked significantly more sharply than they did when driving themselves.
Which is more, the cars’ software also appeared to be better at keeping a safe distance between vehicles than human drivers could, The Telegraph writes.
In one test, a Google autonomous car was hit by another one and the car’s used an annotated map of the surroundings which proved what happened.
Urmson added: “We don’t have to rely on eyewitnesses that can’t act be trusted as to what happened — we actually have the data. The guy around us wasn’t paying enough attention. The data will set you free.”
In addition describing extra-ordinary capabalities of Google robot cars, Urmson demonstrated a new dashboard display that his group has developed to show people what an autonomous car is doing and when they might want to take over.
“Inside the car we’ve gone out of our way to make the human factors work,” he said.
And though that might suggest the Internet searching giant is thinking about how to translate its research project into something used by real motorists, the leader of the project dodged a question about how that might happen.
“We’re thinking about different ways of bringing it to market,” he said. “I can’t tell you any more right now.”
Urmson went on, admitting that he is in constant contanct with automakers, many of which are independently working on self-driving cars themselves.
Google has been testing its robot vehicle on public roads since 2010, always with a human in the driver’s seat who can take over if necessary.
The car-project leader dismissed rumors that legal and regulatory problems pose a major barrier to cars that are completely autonomous. He noted that several American states, for example, California, Nevada and Florida have already adjusted their laws to allow tests of self-driving cars.
“And existing product liability laws make it clear that a car’s manufacturer would be at fault if the car caused a crash, he said. He also said that when the inevitable accidents do occur, the data autonomous cars collect in order to navigate will provide a powerful and accurate picture of exactly who was responsible,” Mashable writes.
The Google car project head said that the company is thinking about different ways of bringing the cars to the market.