- Cruise self-driving cars have been involved in more crashes than any other company.
- Waymo, on the other hand, has had a higher percentage of its fleets involved in accidents – likely due to the more testing miles under its belt.
- Tech.co compiled California DMV data to see where, when, and which companies were involved in self-driving crashes.
Self-driving cars will be safer than our current roads, experts say. But until we get to full autonomy, there have been – and will likely continue to be – some speed bumps.
Because the technology is so new, self-driving car accidents tend to get a lot of attention. Cruise’s 52 crashes, for example, pale in comparison to the 3,564 traffic deaths in California last year alone. Still, the incidents are top of mind for other drivers on the road – as well as for competing companies, which have a knack for secrecy.
Tech news and review site Tech.co combed through the California Department of Motor Vehicle data to quantify and locate each individual self-driving car crash in the state, including which company’s vehicles were involved.
“There’s no progress without pain,” Tom Fogden, who lead the research for Tech.co, said. “Our research shows that Californians, especially those in San Francisco are bearing the brunt of the change to self-driving vehicles, hopefully, it will all be worth it.”
It’s important to consider miles travelled when evaluating the findings. Waymo, for example, has now logged more than 10 million miles of self-driving tests – well above that of any competitors.Tech.co‘s data does not include crash rates per miles driven, only per vehicles in the fleet, an important distinction.
Cruise, by comparison, had only logged about 131,000 miles on California roads between December 2016 and 2017, according to its most recent state filing. In that same time period, Waymo logged 350,000, Ars Technica reported.
Both companies declined to comment.
In some cases, it was a human driver at fault for a collision – including times when the computer would have made a safer decision.
As Fogden says, most of the crashes have occurred in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. You can see the clusters below. Keep scrolling to see how the competitors rank in terms of crash percentages.
% of fleet that’s crashed: 3%
Total number of crashes: 2
“The newest member of the autonomous car crash club is Apple,” says Tech.co “It’s been pretty secretive about its self-driving car program, but as California law states that all autonomous car crashes must be reported to the DMV, Apple couldn’t keep its August 28 crash quiet for long. It’s also suffered another in October.”
% of fleet that’s crashed: 10%
Total number of crashes: 1
% of fleet that’s crashed: 10%
Total number of crashes: 1%
% of fleet that’s crashed: 20%
Total number of crashes: 5
General Motors / Cruise
% of fleet that’s crashed: 30%
Total number of crashes: 52
“With the highest number of accidents in the study, multinational car manufacturer, General Motors’ ‘Cruise’ cars have a blighted record when it comes to driverless car testing,” says tech.co. “Despite being the largest car manufacturer in the US, with over 100 years’ experience in making vehicles, the company has failed to make a smooth transition into the driverless car market, with nearly 30% of their self-driving fleet suffering collisions.”
% of fleet that’s crashed: 41%
Total number of crashes: 36
“Despite Google’s seemingly endless knowledge and power, the company’s self-driving car fleet has the highest collision rate in the study,” writes Tech.co. “Google’s autonomous vehicles have crashed 36 times in the Mountain View area, seemingly unable to deal with the six-lane El Camino Real (The King’s Highway), which snakes through the area.”
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