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Self-Driving Cars May Hit Something 13 Times if not Intervened by Humans

Update Date: Jan 15, 2016 03:15 PM EST
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Self-driving cars are the future and may allow us to sit back and relax while they maneuver themselves on the road. However, for now they still need humans to be controlling the wheel every now and then. According to Google reports, between September 2014 and November 2015, the test drivers had to take control of their self-driving cars from the computer, also known as disengagement, at least 341 times. These figures are mandatory for Google and other companies testing self-driving to report to the Department of Motor Vehicles annually.

According to the Verge, of the total 341 disengagements reported by Google, 272 were caused due to "failure of autonomous technology" - when the car's sensors detected a fault and handed the control over to the tester, signaling a takeover through "distinct audio and visual signal." Google clarifies that the company's aim is not to limit the disengagements but "gather as much data as possible to enable us to improve our self-driving system." This is the reason the limit for takeover has been set orthodoxly. The 69 other disengagements reported were of more critical nature. These were the times when the vehicle's safe operation must be controlled by the driver. That is when the test drivers take control of the wheels for some reason.

Google notes that these are not all possible crashes when a human decides to take over or is prompted to take control. This can include situations like bad driving by other users or comfort related decisions. These cases of disengagements occurred over a distance of 424,331 miles of driving, as reported by The Verge. Google also noted that the miles driven between disengagement cases has also been going up.

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