Driverless Trials Prove Tech More Dangerous Than Humans

Autonomous driving tests reveal the technology suffers more accidents than would be expected from the average human driver on average.

That’s the allegation being leveled by Adi Pinhas, CEO and co-founder of Israeli tech start-up Brodmann17. Speaking to TU-Automotive cited data collected from Waymo’s test cars suggesting they are involved in more collisions and other minor incidents than a human driver does over the same distance.

He said: “Data is key to everything. The problem is that we don’t have enough quality data, which means the algorithms at Level 4 are not robust enough. Waymo is showing that if you compare the number of accidents they have, it’s still more than a human driver on average, over the same distance.”

While Waymo covers millions of miles in its autonomous cars, only a fraction of this is actually useful, Pinhas added. “A lot of the data Waymo and other autonomous vehicle companies are collecting is not all that useful. A lot of it is just ‘normal’ driving on a highway or in an urban environment, which the system knows well. Very rarely do the cars see an emergency vehicle, for example, or a pedestrian acting erratically, or a cyclist crashing and falling off. This is the type of data we need to collect if cars are to get to Level 4 or even Level 5 in the future,” Pinhas said.

This echoes similar sentiments from Ziv Binyamini, CEO of Foretellix, another tech start-up also based in Tel Aviv, who said back in August that the autonomous vehicle industry should be focusing on ‘quality not quantity’.

As a final point, the Brodmann17 boss also noted that consumers are putting far too much trust in technology which is only there to help us and not to drive for us. “People have to remember that at Level 2, or 2+, the car is not driving, the human is. The human is still responsible for the vehicle, with the technology simply there to assist.

“If a pedestrian darts out with a car heading towards them because they didn’t look while crossing the road, the human should see them and brake. The car should do that as well, as that is ADAS’s intended function, but the human driver is still wholly responsible for vehicle safety; an ADAS is only there to catch mistakes in the off-chance the driver was distracted.”

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