A report released by the DMV Wednesday reveals that driverless cars have a long way to go before they can actually become driverless.
The data from the Department of Motor Vehicles includes autonomous vehicle test results from 11 companies. The information includes details of when drivers had to take control of the cars, either because the test driver felt uncomfortable or due to a glitch in the technology. The data only includes miles traveled on public roads in California, and doesn’t include testing at private facilities or outside the state.
Bryant Walker Smith, scholar for Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society says”there are more questions that need answers; such as what would happen if the driver didn’t intervene. Would the car know to pull to the side of the road to avoid a collision? how ‘bad’ the hypothetical outcome avoided by a driver-initiated disengagement needs to be for Waymo (for example) to include such a disengagement in its count,” he said. “In other words, if the driver hadn’t intervened in any given instance, would a crash have necessarily resulted?”
Delphi Automotive Systems, for example, reported several instances where the cars could not read traffic signals due to “poor sun conditions,” or when the cars had trouble changing lanes during heavy traffic. Google’s Waymo, on the other hand, said the human drivers had to take over most often due to software discrepancies, followed by an unwanted maneuver of the car or the reckless behavior of another driver. Other times, humans took over because there was heavy pedestrian traffic or out of extra caution for a cyclist sharing the road.
Honda and Volkswagon — said they never tested the vehicles on public roads. The others ranged from 530 miles logged by Tesla during only one month in 2016 to the 635,868 miles traveled by Google’s Waymo vehicles.
Google’s driverless cars were involved in 11 minor accidents while tested on California’s roads over the past six years. The company released the number Monday after The Associated Press reported that Google had notified California of three collisions involving its self-driving cars since September. The reporting of all accidents became a legal requirement as part of the permits for the tests on public roads. Google’s self-driving project director wrote that the 11 accidents were minor light damage and no injuries. Developers at Google and other traditional car makers fear accidents and the reaction to the first car-caused accident will set a precedent in terms of financial liability. As a result California law makes it extremely difficult for any major companies or very wealthy individuals to test the cars. Each one requires $5 million worth of insurance. If a car in self-driving mode hits a pedestrian, the case becomes a matter of product liability. The driverless cars are required to record and store the last 30 seconds of a data before any accident
Check This Out. I wonder If You Could Do Drive Like This In New York City?
New cars are coming equipped with cameras that check around the car for pedestrians. Radar that stops you from drifting out of your lane. An engine able to turn off automatically at traffic lights to conserve fuel. they are no longer confined to luxury brands only. It’s showing up in mainstream vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion. Today, the cameras are smaller and cheaper, too, making it easier to put multiple ones on each car. Costs are expected dwindle as technology improves and automakers add them to more and more vehicles.
New features that drivers can expect on their next cars:
Collision warning with automatic braking: New cars have radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash. Some even stop the vehicle, or at least slow it enough to make a crash less severe. More sophisticated systems apply the brakes if a car veers off the road and heads toward a moving or fixed object. The systems are the outgrowth of adaptive cruise control, which came out 15 years ago and helps keep cars a safe distance from vehicles in front of them.
Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo and other brands offer automatic braking to avoid a collision; more automakers will follow soon.
• Advanced cameras: Automotive cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015. Since cameras are becoming smaller and cheaper, automakers aren’t just putting them on the back of the car anymore.
Honda has side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is employed, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Nissan’s around-view monitor blends images from four cameras tucked in the mirrors and elsewhere around the car into a composite, bird’s-eye view to help the driver back out of a parking spot. The system is available on a high-end Rogue, which costs $6,000 more than the base model. Volvo and Subaru have front-mounted cameras that can apply brakes to avoid hitting pedestrians.
Lane centering: A camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car — using the brakes — to stay in the center of a lane. These systems — aka Lane Keep Assist — are available on most Mercedes-Benz vehicles as well as the Ford Fusion, Ford Explorer, Toyota Prius, Lexus GS and Lincoln MKZ.
• Adaptive headlights: Headlights don’t have to be round any more to accommodate bulbs. And LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, let automakers cram more brightness into smaller spaces. Audi, Mercedes, Acura, Mazda and others have so-called adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And many cars have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.
• Stop-start: By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles a gallon, up from the current 30.8 mpg. A must-have feature will be : a “stop-start” device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake.
Automakers from Silicon Valley, to Detroit to Germany are designing driverless cars. On Thursday, the Department of Transportation made its first formal policy statement on autonomous vehicles. It said that driverless cars should not yet be allowed, except for testing. It said, however, that semiautonomous features, such as cars that keep themselves centered in lanes and adjust their speed based on the location of the car ahead, could save lives.
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was issuing recommendations for driverless cars as a result of companies like Google are developing automated technologies for vehicles and several states are beginning to approve their use. NHTSA stated in its policy that it does not believe driverless cars are ready for widespread use, but “encourage” further testing of the newest technologies by providing guidance to states.
“While the agency does not believe that self-driving vehicles are currently ready to be driven on public roads for purposes other than testing, the agency would like to emphasize that it is encouraged by innovations in automated driving and their potential to transform our roadways.” NHTSA’s policy divides vehicle technologies into four categories: Function-specific Automation (Level 1), Combined Function Automation (Level 2), Limited Self-Driving Automation (Level 3); Full Self-Driving Automation (Level 4).
NHTSA said driverless cars would fall into levels three and four. Google’s prototype, which was featured in a popular YouTube video, would be a level three automated vehicle.