04 Nov Making self-driving cars safer with the help of NGIMES
One of the newest trends in automotive manufacturing are self-driving vehicles. Three different companies – Audi, Google and Delphi – are producing those types of cars, according to CNN Money. The vehicles are allowed on the road, but different states have varying legal requirements they must follow. For example, in California, a human driver is required to be behind the wheel in case the car has a problem. Wired magazine stated that The National Highway Safety Administration has addressed the technology, but has not passed any rulings outlawing or advocating for self-driving cars.
Recent news about the cars may change how they are manufactured. A new study found that self-driving vehicles travel fewer miles than traditional cars, yet crash nearly nine times as often. Given the high costs of creating and operating self-driving cars, the high rate of crashes is alarming for manufacturers, owners and other drivers on the road.
Until legislation is introduced that changes the way self-driving cars are regulated, the owners and makers of these vehicles will have to adjust to ensure everyone driving in or near one of these cars is safe.
Data on self-driving cars
In October, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute released its study on real-world crashes involving self-driving vehicles. While plenty of research had been done to see how these cars held up in labs and on test tracks, the UM study wanted to see how self-driving cars fared on residential streets, busy highways and other actual roads where other vehicles would be moving.
“Automated cars averaged 9.1 crashes per 1 million miles, the study found.”
What the study found was not promising for the technology, though researchers admitted the sample size was fairly small. Self-driving cars from all three brands travel about 1.2 million miles a year, compared to 3 trillion annual miles that are driven in the U.S. by conventional vehicles. Yet despite the limited mileage, the rate of an accident from a self-driving car is still considerably higher than when a human is behind the wheel.
Automated cars averaged 9.1 crashes per 1 million miles, the study found. Cars with human drivers were only in accidents 1.9 times for every 1 million miles on the road.
The Michigan researchers did state that the numbers are not completely indicative of how well the cars perform. The study cited a 95 percent confidence interlap, which means they cannot eliminate the chance that the actual rate for self-driving cars are lower than that of conventional vehicles. In every accident the researchers examined, the automated vehicle was not at fault for the crash.
There is a great possibility that a self-driving car, programmed and designed to follow all of the rules of the road, just lacks the natural instincts of a human. As Manufacturing.net pointed out, self-driving cars do not attempt to maneuver out of the way to avoid crashes, as humans do. Those risky and often high-speed attempts to get out of the way of oncoming cars occasionally lead to worse accidents. Along with not being at fault, the UM study also stated that accidents involving self-driving cars are often generally less severe than crashes involving human drivers.
Value of NGIMES
Production of self-driving cars is still ongoing by the three automakers investing in the technology. However, it is expected changes will be made in an effort to lower the rate of crashes.
NGIMES, an automotive manufacturing execution system, can help companies collect data and make fact-based decisions on how to improve the making of a vehicle. The software focuses on quality processes, so that a business is guaranteed that their manufacturing setup is working efficiently and intelligently. There is also improved capabilities to measure and monitor excellence, so that manufacturers know the vehicles they are making remain top-of-the-line.
Smart software like NGIMES can help reduce the total cost of ownership, and at the same time make self-driving vehicles safer for everybody.