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Understanding Self-Driving Car Crash Data

Many predict that self-driving cars are the future of transportation, but as it stands right now, the accident numbers are not encouraging. As CNBC reports, a new study has revealed that self-driving cars are more than twice as likely to get in an accident that traditional cars-- but self-driving car makers and researchers alike insist that those numbers don't tell the whole story.

Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute compiled data from the self-driving car programs at Google, Delphi and Audi--all of which are required by California law to report any accidents involving their automated cars. Then compared that data to crash data of traditional cars in U.S. from 2013.

What they found, at least on paper, looked startling: the self-driving cars were in collisions more than twice as often than traditional cars. For every million miles logged, self-driving cars were in 9.1 crashes. Regular vehicles operated by drivers? Only 4.1 crashes per million miles.

Not the Whole Story

The researchers in the study are quick to quell concerns over the self-driving car accident rate, stating that there's not enough data yet to paint an accurate picture. "Once these cars accumulate more miles, we'll get a more complete picture of crash rates," Brandon Schoettle told CNBC. "So far, they appear to be more likely to be in accidents, but remember those crashes were not their fault."

The matter of fault is a sticking point for self-driving car manufacturers, as well. Chris Urmson, the head of Google's self-driving car program, admits that there are still some things that their self-driving cars can't do (specifically, avoid being rear-ended while at rest), but still touts the fact that not one accident involving their company was caused by the self-driving car. To Google--and other companies like Telsa, Honda, and BMW--self-driving cars are still the future. "It has been amazing to see how the technology has developed over the last few years," said Urmson.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, then we invite you to contact us at Del Sole Cavanaugh Stroyd, LLC today. Our dedicated Pittsburgh car accident attorneys have secured millions of dollars for clients who have been hurt by others and know how to effectively and aggressively pursue compensation following an accident on the road.

Want to learn how we can help you during this difficult time? Contact us today to request a free case evaluation.

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