Google announced yesterday that its self-driving cars had moved off the freeways and onto busier and more complicated driving scenarios in large cities. These cars have logged over 700,000 miles and Google executives predicted they would be available to consumers by 2017.
“We’ve improved our software so it can detect hundreds of distinct objects simultaneously – pedestrians, buses, a stop sign held up by a crossing guard, or a cyclist making gestures that indicate a possible turn. A self-driving vehicle can pay attention to all of these things in a way that a human physically can’t — and it never gets tired or distracted . . thousands of situations on city streets that would have stumped us two years ago can now be navigated autonomously,” Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving-car project, said Monday on a blog post.
They also posted this video of their car in action.
As a personal injury attorney, I say kudos to Google for continuing with this product and for their committment to safer roads and highways. There are over 33,000 traffic fatalities per year nationally and a NHTSA found 93% of motor vehicle accidents were due to human error. Self-driving cars have the potential to prevent the overwhelming majority of such wrecks and reduce the need for auto accident attorneys. Additionally, truck accident attorneys recognize that these improvements can be very helpful for large truck accidents. Even if not fully automating the driving of large trucks, many of these features could reduce the number and severity of truck accidents.