Cars that can drive themselves, often called self-driving vehicles, autonomous vehicles, or AVs for short, are said to be much safer when compared to normal cars. Nevertheless, the burning question remains: just how much safer are they? According to our self-driving car statistics, nearly 43% of people in the US don’t feel safe in a driverless car.
Ironically, the same report forecasted that roughly 33 million AVs will hit the road by 2040. This only implies that people are expected to get used to driverless cars. Facts and figures also indicate this, although more testing should be done to fully guarantee everyone’s safety.
As such, autonomous vehicle statistics indicate a positive momentum thus far. What’s interesting is that many people are not embracing this vision. In fact, even though half of them believe that driverless cars would eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, the number of car accidents that happen, the other half is not so trusting of AV tech.
There are lots of interesting facts, stats, and issues connected to self-driving cars. If you want to learn more about the so-called cars of the future, read on!
1. 55% of small businesses believe that they are going to have a fully autonomous fleet in the next two decades, autonomous vehicles statistics reveal.
41% of people stated that they would ride in someone else’s car if it was self-driving. When you look at Deloitte’s last-year survey, you will notice a huge 8% drop. In addition, 61% of adult internet users stated that they would not feel comfortable riding in a self-driving car, according to the Brookings Institution.
2. There are over 1,400 self-driving cars in the US.
What’s more, they are being tested by over 80 companies. California was one of the first states to have tested AVs on public roads, as revealed by self-driving cars stats; some 62 companies are registered in California thus far.
3. Studies conducted by Secretary Chao have shown that there are 1.59 million drones registered in the US, 372,000 being commercial.
The DoT has continued to overhaul guidelines, rules, and programs for drones, which help to remove roadblocks from the vehicle industry while also broadening the range of autonomous driving.
4. Studies have shown that only 57% of people familiar with self-driving cars would be willing to ride inside them.
52% of people believe that AVs still actually require some level of human control. When it comes to self-driving cars, crashes are extremely rare, yet it’s clear that not everyone has a good level of understanding of what self-driving cars actually entail.
Source: US News
5. 75% of people would much rather drive a car than ride in an autonomous car.
If cars were autonomous, 64% of people would rather own their car as opposed to hiring it as a taxi service. Even in a fully autonomous world, 71% of people would actually miss driving to some extent.
Source: Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
6. The global AV market currently sits at $54 billion, autonomous vehicle statistics reveal.
A lot of companies have tried getting a piece of the pie, including Uber, Tesla, even Google. An increasing number of traditional car manufacturers, including Volvo, Ford, and General Motors, have also joined the fray. At the moment, the autonomous car market is estimated to be worth $54 billion. People expect it to increase tenfold in the next 5–7 years.
Apart from the technical issues, there are also 7. moral issues of self-driving cars that we have to take into consideration. Currently, there are no clear parameters as to how safe they are, or how safe they need to be in order to reach the open road.
If you’re keen to learn about self-driving car history, you must know that as revolutionary as the Stanford Cart was, it was still just a four-wheeled vehicle. Whereas in 1977, Japan-based Tsukuba Mechanical pioneered the first autonomous driverless car that could achieve the speed of nearly 20 miles per hour by tracing white street markers via two vehicle-mounted cameras.
Curious about how self-driving cars work and other fun facts about them? Well, then check out our infographic below:
8. Google’s self-driving car crashed for the first time in February 2016.
February 14, Google’s autonomous car — Lexus SUV — crashed with a bus. The Lexus SUV was in autonomous mode, driving 2 mph, whereas the bus was driving 15 mph. No injuries were reported and, overall, it was declared a minor crash.
9. A Honda sedan crashed into a Waymo autonomous van resulting in minor injuries.
Two years later, Google once again found itself in a car crash. This time, the Waymo van was in manual mode. The sedan swerved to avoid another human driver and crashed into the AV — hence why the self-driving van wasn’t at fault.
Source: USA Today
10. Tesla Model S caused its first death in Florida while in autopilot mode.
The accident happened on May 7, 2016, wherein Tesla’s autopilot sensors failed to recognize a white tractor-trailer crossing the highway. The driver, Joshua Brown, put the car in autopilot mode, expecting it to drive itself while on the highway.
Unfortunately, the AV failed to distinguish the 18-wheeler truck that crossed the highway, hence it attempted to drive through it at full speed; the Tesla driver died from the injuries sustained in the crash.
Source: The Guardian
11. Tesla’s latest safety data report shows that its autopilot is, in fact, safer than a human driver.
When we consider Tesla self-driving accidents, statistics are a mixed bag. The bad news is: the number of Tesla cars involved in crashes is on the rise. The good news is: the company claims that during its autopilot mode, cars are less likely to get into a crash; even when switched off, there’s still a lower chance that a Tesla car will crash when compared to normal cars.
12. The first Uber self-driving car crash happened in Tempe, Arizona due to human error.
On November 20, 2018, the Uber crash in Tempe was believed to be the world’s first death by a self-driving vehicle. The event resulted in the death of Elaine Hezerberg (a pedestrian) whereas the first person to get blamed was Rafaela Vasquez (the safety driver in the Uber car).
Reports stated that Vasquez was streaming an episode of “The Voice” while on the road and was distracted for most of the time while driving. The Uber car only detected Hezerberg, who was crossing the street with her bicycle, 5.6 seconds before the impact.
Source: The Verge
13. Yet more info on autonomous car accidents: Uber self-driving cars were involved in 37 crashes before the killing of Elaine Hezerberg.
This was revealed by the National Transportation Safety Board; the data shows that Uber’s autonomous test vehicles were involved in 37 crashes 18 months prior to the Arizona incident.
Source: Business Insider
14. Two years after the fatal Uber car accident, Uber AVs were again allowed on California roads.
Apparently, Uber self-driving cars didn’t know pedestrians could jaywalk, according to some reports. In 2019, prosecutors ruled that the company wasn’t liable for the Arizona crash. In 2020, the company received a permit in California to test self-driving technology with a back-up driver inside the vehicle.
Elaine Herzberg's demise was the first self-driving car-pedestrian death recorded after a collision that occurred late in the evening of March 18, 2018. She was pushing a cycle across a four-lane street in Tempe, Arizona, US, where she was hit by an Uber test vehicle. The vehicle was functioning in self-drive mode with a safety backup driver sitting on the driving seat. Elaine Herzberg was rushed to the local hospital, where she expired of her injuries.
Source: The Verge
16. Facts on autonomous vehicle accidents: human-controlled driving, in this day and age, is considered to be a fairly safe activity.
US data shows that there’s a single death for every 100 million miles driven. Self-driving cars would probably fare much better if we just take a look at the latest reports; this is what most companies are trying to focus on when creating their vehicles.
17. Self-driving cars are meant to come with a stop button that can be used in emergencies.
Most people would consider the manufacturer the sole responsible for a car crash in case of a design fault.
Additionally, statistics also show that almost two-thirds of people would choose to sacrifice themselves in the event of self-driving crashes in order to save someone else; only a select few will ever be in this position, and even less will have absolutely no choice at all.
Source: The Conversation US, Inc.
18. 16% of residents would feel comfortable letting a fully autonomous vehicle drive them around, even if it meant that they have absolutely no control themselves.
75% of voters in the US stated that they want Congress to try and put the brakes on driverless cars, showing that there are still some safety concerns when it comes to the future of this technology.
19. 57% of people said that they would not feel comfortable purchasing a driverless car even if money was not actually an issue, self driving car statistics reveal.
54% also said that they would not use a fully self-driving car even when they do become available. On the other hand, 33% of surveyees think that semi-autonomous technology would actually make them better drivers. They believe that the lane departure sensors and autopilot features would help them quite a bit while on the road.
Lastly, 16% of drivers are under the impression that autonomous cars spell the end of auto insurance as we know it. In fact, we estimate the exact opposite, as you’ll find out later on in our statistics on self-driving cars.
Source: Driverless Media
20. Half of US women said that life and death choices cannot be taught to any kind of vehicle; two-thirds of men said the same.
Attitudes toward AI morality differs depending on age, gender, and profession. Although fully autonomous cars are still in development, users are now starting to think about how an artificial control center could make life or death choices in the event of autonomous car accidents. Strangely enough, humans do forget that if a collision does occur, you only have a split second to react accordingly. Even then, you won’t be making much of a conscious choice.
Those who work in the IT profession, on the other hand, believe that cars will, one day, be able to make a rational decision; as much as 60% of those working in the tech industry are optimistic about the future of driverless cars. Nearly half of all survey respondents stated that it’s more important to protect the people in the car as opposed to pedestrians, according to autonomous vehicles statistics. The other half believed that it was more important to protect pedestrians or to have a few victims as possible; as little as 3% of people preferred the car to choose at random whether to protect the people in the car or the pedestrians.
Source: Robotics Business Review
21. The first batch of Level 5 autonomous cars could be hitting the market soon.
Progress for autonomous cars is split into five different stages. Level one essentially refers to driver assistance functions. Level five features a self-driving car that is capable of operating either on or off the road. Level five cars do not require any human interaction at all. When you look at self-driving car statistics from 2019, you will see that they do not include any kind of data on level five cars. The main reason — they are yet to be fully developed.
Manufacturers such as BMW, Honda, Renault, and Toyota have stated that they plan on putting cars that are level five status into production by 2020. Tesla originally said that they expected their cars to be completely autonomous by the year 2017 but the whole thing proved to be far more challenging than first expected.
22. In 2015, the Audi SQ5 made a 3,400 mile trip to New York from San Francisco, statistics on self-driving cars reveal.
A human co-pilot had to take the wheel at various times, purely for safety reasons. A Google engineer also went on a coast-to-coast journey in a level two category car.
Source: Digital Journal
23. Autonomous vehicles have shown immense progress time and time again.
Autonomous truck driving could soon revolutionize the entire logistics industry. The majority of trucking routes are actually done on straight roads and they really are the prime candidate in terms of automation; truck drivers often need to watch the number of hours that they are on the road due to the dangers of concentration loss and fatigue.
Source: Digital Trends
24. According to autonomous vehicles statistics, Google’s Waymo is trying to pave the way for autonomous transportation and ride-sharing.
Google’s Waymo launched a self-driving taxi service which was limited to a few streets in Phoenix, Arizona; namely, Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Tempe. The results were mostly positive and it was an immense building block for the future overall.
25. From a global perspective, autonomous driving and tech are moving forward.
Autonomous cars might not be ready to completely take over manual alternatives, but more and more car manufacturers are implementing measures into run-of-the-mill vehicles. This includes lane-switching tech, automatic braking, and acceleration, according to the recent autonomous vehicle statistics.
26. The German brand Audi plans on spending $16 billion on self-driving cars by 2023.
These efforts are being undertaken by AID — Audi’s own self-driving tech. Started in 2017, operations are mainly based in Munich with 150 employees testing 12 autonomous vehicles on public roads.
27. BMW and Daimler team up to increase the number of self-driving cars on roads.
BMW has been pushing its autonomous strategy for quite some time. In 2019, the company announced that they are teaming up with Daimler. 1,200 technicians will develop a new autonomous system; the ultimate goal is to get as many autonomous vehicles on the road as possible by 2024, as well as to reduce overall self-driving car accidents.
Waymo, best known for its pursuit of a robo-taxi service, assimilated its self-driving system into Class 8 trucks and in 2017 started testing them in Arizona. In 2018, the corporation announced using a self-driving truck as means to transport cargo bound for Google’s Atlanta data centers.
Moreover, In March 2020, Waymo Via commenced it's Class 8 truck testing out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which runs to El Paso using Interstates 20 and 10 and to Houston by way of Interstate 45. Peterbilt 579 truck drivers are equipped with an array of Waymo Driver cameras and sensors. The drivers will first drive the routes manually, and after that, the autonomous software will take over.
Source: Tech Crunch
Self-driving cars are set to disrupt the car insurance industry as they become more commonplace. Tesla is, in fact, among the biggest names currently working on car insurance for AVs and electric cars.
Of course, having car insurance is crucial since we don’t expect AVs to be infallible anytime soon. In a nutshell, all vehicles must be insured and self-driving cars are no exception. Your liability coverage should help in covering third-party injuries or vehicle damage in case of an accident. Getting physical damage coverage is also recommended to help cover the expenses for AV repairs or replacement.
When you look at the above-mentioned self-driving car statistics, it’s obvious why people have mixed opinions on autonomous vehicles. Some believe that they are going to be the future of the business and make roads safer; others believe that they are dangerous and will only cause more accidents on the open road.
At the end of the day, it’s safe to say that autonomous cars are here to stay, bringing plenty of new opportunities in the very near future, as pointed out by our self-driving cars stats.
One thing is for sure: businesses will certainly benefit from all this, and there’s also the possibility that people will be much safer on the road. Some even believe that drinking and driving fatalities could be eliminated almost entirely as autonomous cars (of the highest level) do not require any kind of human input, and therefore, might stop people from driving while being intoxicated.
While there is no recent data on this issue, it’s worth noting that in 2014 alone, California had 88 accidents involving AVs; the drivers were responsible for 81 of these. What’s more, there were 62 accidents where the car was in a fully autonomous mode — only one of these AVs was at fault.
Source: Business Insider
It’s still hard to get an accurate count of self-driving car deaths since some AVs are still in either the development or the testing stage. Nevertheless, Tesla claims that their self-driving cars are four times better than normal cars; while in Autopilot mode, there is an estimated 1 fatality per 320 million miles driven.
In the US, there are more than 1,400 self-driving cars on the roads. Some reports indicate that there could be 10 million AVs this year alone as Google, Tesla, and Uber continuously drive the AV market growth to new heights.
Source: Social Tables
Self-driving car technology aims to reduce road fatalities and it certainly has the potential to do so. Most new cars are equipped with software that enables lane tracking, autonomous emergency braking, enhanced vision systems, and vehicle to vehicle communication (V2V). But then again, as AVs continue to develop, new security concerns surrounding these vehicles surface every now and then, according to self-driving car statistics.
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