The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study commissioned by Google shows that the crash rates for self-driving cars are lower than the national crash rate of conventional cars. Results show that when data is adjusted for unreported crashes and take into account accident severity, the national crash rate for conventional vehicles is higher than the crash rate of self-driving cars. The report examines national crash data and data from naturalistic driving studies that closely monitors the on-road experience of 3,300 vehicles driving more than 34 million vehicle miles, to better estimate existing crash rates, and then compares the results to data from Google’s Self-Driving Car program.
Up until now, comparisons based on existing data have been incomplete as requirements in each state for police reported crashes differ, and the majority of severe crashes that go unreported. Meanwhile, self-driving cars are required to report every crash, regardless of severity.