...around its freight delivery business. To that end, the company shared publicly in October some previously-undisclosed details about its driverless truck technology.
“The foundational systems are all the same,” Boris Sofman, Waymo’s director of engineering for trucking, told Fortune around the same time the company published a statement on its website stating that driverless freight-truck technology essentially mirrors its driverless car technology.
Technologists working to further driverless-vehicle development still have mountains to climb when it comes to proving to regulators and the public that such cars and trucks are ready for prime time.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety acknowledged in June that driver mistakes cause “virtually all crashes,” which could make automation a game-changer in road safety. But the IIHS, which is a six-decade-old nonprofit funded by auto insurance companies, also determined self-driving vehicles that operate “too much like people” would only prevent about a third of crashes.
“It’s likely that fully self-driving cars will eventually identify hazards better than people, but we found that this alone would not prevent the bulk of crashes,” said IIHS Vice President for Research Jessica Cicchino.
Cicchino co-authored a study that analyzed police-reported crashes and found nine out of 10 crashes were caused by some element of driver error. The study determined only a fraction of crashes could be prevented by an automated vehicle’s human-imitated functions. Additional accidents would require reactivate software “programmed to prioritize safety over speed and convenience.”
This bolsters previous research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that determined...