Tuesday, 19 October 2021 21:43

Human Drivers are Biggest Challenge for Autonomous Vehicles


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It is widely accepted that around 95% of road traffic accidents are caused by human drivers. We are fallible, distracted and potentially dangerous.

Our liability behind the wheel is not just the problem of other human drivers, but can also be difficult for autonomous vehicles to contend with.


Every company testing autonomous vehicles in California must report any collision to the California DMV. The new IDTechEx report, "Autonomous Cars, Robotaxis & Sensors 2022–2042," provides analysis on this data, spanning the last two and a half years' worth of the reports.


It is not looking good for human drivers.


From 187 reports, only two incidents could be attributed to the poor performance of the autonomous system. That means a staggering 99% of crashes involving autonomous vehicles are caused by human error.


It is also worth mentioning while the vehicles were operating in autonomous mode, 81 out of the 83 recorded incidents were caused by a human, either in another vehicle or as a misbehaving pedestrian.


The results, shown in the graphic, only tell half the story though. When delving into individual cases the ineptitude of some drivers becomes glaringly obvious.


Here are four example cases where it would simply be impossible for two autonomous vehicles to have the same collision. These cases are summaries of real incidents documented and available on the California DMV website.


Pony.ai, July 12, 2019


At a traffic light-controlled junction, the autonomous test driver noticed the car in front has its reverse lights on. As a precaution, the test driver backed up 20-30 feet. When the lights turned green, the car in front...

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