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Report: Self-Driving Car Accidents Show Computers are Superior Drivers

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Sept. 4, 2015—Google’s self-driving car test programs are continuing to prove that humans cannot drive as efficiently as computers, according to a report by USA Today.

Google’s self-driving cars have been in 16 accidents, 12 of them were rear-end collisions and in all of the accidents the human driver was to blame, according to data Google provided to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The latest rear-end collision accident occurred on Aug. 20. A self-driving Lexus approached a crosswalk without a stoplight and detected a pedestrian in the road. The vehicle began braking immediately, but the onboard driver decided to brake more firmly. When the car stopped, it was hit from behind by a motorist changing lanes.

After analyzing the data, program leader Chris Urmson reported that although Google’s human driver followed protocol by taking control in the situation, had the car been left to brake on its own it would have done so in a less abrupt way and edged closer to the sidewalk, according to the report.

“In other words, our software might have created some extra margin in a situation where fractions of inches and seconds mattered, [software] could do the math on many complicated factors all at once … and make an extremely nuanced braking calculation. … We’re putting this down as an officially interesting moment in self-driving car history,” Urmson wrote, according to USA Today.

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