The safety of driverless cars versus cars driven by
people in the UK. In short, only an idiot or a psychopath would consider driverless cars a good idea and here are the facts that show why.
Total number of road users involved in an accident in the UK of all severities in 2013 is 183,670
Total number of miles travelled on UK roads in 2013 is 303 billion.
Number of miles travelled per accident is 1,649,697
Average miles travelled per 4 wheel vehicle in 2013 was 7,900 miles
1. The average road user will be involved in an accident that causes an injury every 1.7 million miles travelled
2. The average road user will be involved in an accident that causes an injury every 215 years – or a 1 in 78475 chance on any given day
3. The average road user will be involved in an accident that causes an injury every 198,445 journeys – or a 1 in 198445 chance
4. On each journey the average road user has a 0.000005% chance of being involved in a road accident that causes an injury.
5. On any given day the average road user has a 0.00001% chance of being involved in an accident that causes an injury.
How Does This Compare To Computer Reliability?
We will assume that a computer crashing is the equivalent of a road traffic accident. ie if the computer in a driverless cars fails then an accident occurs.
10% of Windows PCs crash each day vs 0.000001% chance of a road accident per road user per day
Key Point – Road users are literally 10 million times more reliable than a Windows PC
Hardware crashes on a PC running windows has a 1 in 330 chance of occuring every 8 months. Converting that to days.
The chance of a hardware crash on a Windows PC per day is 0.72%
0.72% chance of a hardware crash every days vs 0.000001% chance of a road user failure
Key Point – Road users are 720,000 times more reliable than PC hardware running Windows.
There is absolutely no evidence would suggest that driverless cars will be anywhere near as safe as a human.
For someone to suggest handing control of a vehicle over to a computer is irresponsible at best and psychopathic at worst.
I know of no piece of consumer electronics that will can be used 198,445 times without needing some sort of restart. A restart that is needed because the device has stopped functioning completely and with no notice.
I know of no piece of consumer electronics that can be used normally for 215 years without needing some sort of restart. A restart that is needed because the device has stopped functioning completely and with no notice.
And I am talking about kettles, irons and smoke alarms ie nothing that does more than a couple of things at the same time.
The statistics for computerised devices is much worse. (see the sources above & below)
I wonder for example, if I can use the navigation in my car 198,445 times without it encountering some sort of fatal crash which needs me to restart it.
And when are computers most likely to crash?
When you are asking them to do something tricky
Or when you are asking them to do many things at the same time.
ie the circumstance when you least want your driverless car to be wigging out and handing control over to you with absolutely zero notice and/or doing something completely unpredictable ie coming to an abrupt stop for no apparent reason and without warning
The idea of driverless cars is reckless, foolish and incredibly dangerous.
Until computers reach at least 10% of the reliability of a person there is not way driverless cars should be considered an option.
And at the time of writing 2015.6.5, from the statistics given above, computers are at least 720 THOUSAND times LESS reliable than humans.
Maybe the reliability will come in the future but at the moment, we are not even close.
1. All road casualties on UK roads in 2013 – uk_road_casualties_uk_2013.xls
2. 2014 Road Traffic estimates UK – annual-road-traffic-estimates-2013.pdf
3. Average mileage travelled per 4 wheel vehicle in 2013 – http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-28546589
4. The average number of all journeys per person in the UK in 2013 journeys_uk_2013.pdf
5. Windows reliability – http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,1210067,00.asp
This page was last modified