The amount of self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles on the roads has exploded in recent years, ushering in a new transportation revolution that could change society forever. But every technological advancement comes with hiccups, and autonomous vehicles are no exception. News about self-driving cars is sometimes grim and often focuses on the various self-driving car accidents that sometimes prove deadly. These stories have sparked a debate about self-driving car safety and what the current limitations of the technology are. While this hasn't stopped many people from eagerly welcoming such new innovations, deaths caused by self-driving cars do give some pause when it comes to getting behind the changes to the road too quickly.
No matter if it's a robot or a human behind the wheel, there will always be accidents with new and sometimes scary technologies. Self-driving cars aim to lower fatalities due to human error, but that doesn't mean they are currently error proof. There have been people killed in accidents involving self-driving vehicles, and only time will tell if the rewards outweigh the risks. For now, we can analyze all the self-driving car accidents and judge for ourselves.
South Jordan, Utah: Tesla Model S Collision
A 28 year-old woman was injured on May 11, 2018 after her car unexpectedly slammed into a parked firetruck. Utah authorities announced that the woman's Tesla Model S was driving autonomously at the time of the crash. Estimates put the vehicle's speed at approximately 60 miles per hour. Miraculously, the only injury suffered by the driver was a broken foot. The operator of the firetruck received brief, onsite treatment for whiplash and was not admitted to the hospital. Tesla responded by reminding drivers the semi-autonomous mode still requires driver vigilance to prevent accidents.
Chandler, Arizona: Waymo Collision
The operator of a self-driving Waymo van suffered minor injuries after another car slammed into the vehicle on May 4, 2018. While the van was in self-driving mode, it was the human driver in the other vehicle that was responsible for the incident. The driver ran a red light just before hitting the Waymo van. Waymo is the autonomous vehicle division of Google.
Singapore: NuTonomy Crash
No injuries were reported in an incident that saw a self-driving car swerve into a truck while changing lanes on October 18, 2016. The company responsible, nuTonomy, was testing the vehicle and had two engineers riding inside at the time of the collision. The car was moving at a "slow speed" likely preventing serious injury. The accident was the first of its kind in Singapore.
Mountain View, California: Self-Driving Google Car Crash
No injuries were reported after one of Google's prototype autonomous vehicle collided with a bus on February 14, 2016. Both vehicles were moving relatively slow, with the car moving at about 2 miles per hour and the bus traveling at 15 miles per hour. Google confirmed that its vehicle had been driving autonomously at the time of the collision, which occurred when the car swerved to avoid some sandbags in the road. Both the vehicle and the engineer behind the wheel assumed the bus would stop to allow for the correction.