Waymo robotaxis have now driven 1 million miles autonomously with no recorded injuries


Posts: 8,777   +110
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What just happened? Robotaxi company Waymo has released a trove of data that could help convince pessimists that fully autonomous vehicles are safer than those controlled by humans. The Alphabet subsidiary announced that its taxis reached the milestone of driving one million miles in January without anyone behind the wheel, and there were no reported injuries or deaths throughout that time.

In addition to nobody being hurt as Waymo racked up one million miles of autonomous driving, there were only two incidents that meet the criteria for inclusion on the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration's database for car crashes, called the Crash Investigation Sampling System (CISS). This criteria includes the need to file a police report or one or more vehicles being towed away.

Those incidents weren't the fault of the self-driving systems. The more serious of the two involved a Waymo taxi being hit from behind by a vehicle whose driver was looking at their cell phone while approaching a red light.

The other incident happened when a car pulled into the same lane as a Waymo taxi and suddenly hit its brakes, causing the self-driving car to go into the back of said vehicle as the taxi didn't have enough time to slow down.

There were an additional 18 minor contact events that did not meet the criteria for the database, including a car backing out of a parking space into a stationary Waymo waiting to pick up a rider, and a portable plastic sign stand getting blown by the wind and making contact with a vehicle. Waymo said that more than half of all these contact events were the result of a human driver hitting one of its stationary taxis.

"Despite 24/7 driving across major U.S. cities, Waymo experienced no collisions at all of the types that are responsible for 94% of fatal collisions in NHTSA's crash investigation database," the company writes.

Waymo co-CEO Dmitri Dolgov recently tweeted that the company had started testing its autonomous Jaguar I-PACE vehicles in Los Angeles. They are currently available to the public in Phoenix, Arizona, and San Francisco, California.

Waymo isn't the only robotaxi service to clock up one million miles. GM subsidiary Cruise hit the same milestone last week.

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Posts: 9   +5
20 crashes (yes, I know they call them "contacts") in a million miles is pretty poor. Humans typically have less than 5 while making much better time.


Posts: 734   +491
The drive seems to be smooth, from the videos I found on YT. But the number of miles is a bit misleading.

It's the equivalent of saying:"10,000 grannies have racked 1 million miles without an accident". Not a big feat, since you can easily find 10,000 grannies who didn't crash into someone for decades. Or never. And that's because they are overly cautious.

Waymo seems to be better than competition, but it's still safe only because it's enormously conservative. If humans were driving like that, they would have less accidents, but then again, everyone would be nervously honking behind them.

Things are okay when the road is straight and clear. Then it drives properly, like any other car. But when it waits on intersections and has to join a perpendicular road, it's waaaaay too conservative. More conservative than a granny. So, it's not much different than hiring a bunch of grannies to drive conventional taxis.

And it only works in areas which are well scanned, with tons of data prepared upfront. Now, they should test it in Mumbai. Just kidding. It's not up to that task. But let's say Instanbul. Okay, that's too much as well. Wait, I know...... Paris. That's a nice European city, right? Here's a test location 9 out of 10 engineers would recommend: