Are self-driving cars safe for our cities? - Curbed
Are autonomous vehicles safe?
In 2009, Google launched its self-driving project focusing on saving lives and serving people with disabilities. In a 2014 video, Google showed blind and elderly riders climbing into its custom-designed autonomous vehicles, part of the company’s plan to “improve road safety and help lots of people who can’t drive.”
Although there were several self-driving projects in the country at the time, many being developed by government agencies or university labs, Google’s project differentiated itself by being public-facing. The goal was not to build cars—although Google did build its own testing prototypes—but to create a self-driving service that would help regular people get around.
Google began testing its vehicles on public streets the very same year the project launched. With the reorganization of Google into its new parent company Alphabet, the self-driving program became its own entity, Waymo. Almost a decade later, Waymo remains the clear leader for safe self-driving miles on U.S. streets.
As of November 2019, Waymo had logged 10 million self-driven miles, making it the leader for self-driven miles on U.S. streets. That’s double the amount of miles Waymo had driven in February 2018. In July 2018, Waymo’s new electric Jaguar I-Paces vehicle hit the streets, in addition to its Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans.