The day when our highways are filled with cars whose drivers can leisurely watch the latest blockbusters or even take a nap still hasn’t come. Nevertheless, it’s getting closer and closer, at least judging by the latest self-driving car statistics.
The self-driving car market is highly competitive, and there are more levels of car autonomy than one may initially assume. At the moment, our roads only have partially independent driving cars.
However, soon that will change. The autonomous vehicle global market is expected to reach $37 billion by 2023, with North America owning 29% of all the self-driving vehicles in the world. Let’s find out more.
Must-Know Statistics on Self Driving Cars (Editor’s Pick)
- The first autonomous car concept was introduced at New York World’s Fair in 1939
- Every year, the autonomous vehicles industry increases by 16% globally
- Waymo has 600 driverless cars
- Around 9.1 driverless car crashes occur per million miles driven
- Over a 20-month period, Waymo’s self-driving cars have been involved in 18 accidents
- In the past four years, eleven Tesla self-driving vehicle accidents have been reported
- Overall, there have been around 37 Uber test vehicle crashes
- 55% of small business owners think that in 20 years, their fleets will be fully autonomous
Driverless Car Statistics
1. The first autonomous car concept was introduced in the Futurama section at New York World’s Fair in 1939.
General Motors made the Futurama exhibit as a segment of its vision of the USA future in 20 years. Futurists and engineers provided an automated highway system on which the driverless cars would rely to transport people to places.
2. Autonomous vehicles statistics note that 41 states have taken steps to consider legislation on self-driving cars.
The House of Representatives passed autonomous vehicle legislation to establish uniform AV standards. Still, Democratic senators have shown concerns that the technology keeps being underdeveloped.
3. The autonomous vehicles industry rises by 16% globally every year.
(Gerber Injury Law)
So, the future of this industry looks bright. The faith—and subsequent investment—in robotic cars is so strong that by 2025 the global value of this market should be worth an incredible $1 trillion or more.
4. There are five different levels of autonomous driving.
In general, even though the public is less concerned with these levels, they are very important for the manufacturers of self-driving cars.
Namely, there are five autonomous driving levels. So, these vehicles range from level 1, where the car can independently accelerate or steer, to level 5, which implies complete automation in all imaginable conditions.
5. Waymo has around 600 self-driving cars.
But how many Waymo self-driving cars are there in a 100-square-mile service area, including the towns of Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, and Gilbert?
The answer is that over 300 vehicles operate in that area. However, Waymo hasn’t revealed the number of its cars operating without safety drivers.
6. At the moment, no self-driving car operating on US roads is completely autonomous.
Right now, there are still no AVs (autonomous vehicles) operating without a human driver. For now, there will always be one, or even two, people present to react to any of the car’s potential warnings.
General Driverless Car Accident Statistics
7. The most common accident involving self-driving cars is getting hit from the rear.
(IoT World Today)
This may serve as an argument in favor of self-driving cars since a driver rear-ending another vehicle frequently happens because they weren’t giving the right level of attention to the road.
All in all, most of the incidents in which a human driver and an autonomously driven vehicle collided were typical crashes, as per self-driving car crash statistics.
8. As per a report, sideswipes are the second most common accident involving an autonomous vehicle.
Rear-end represented 62%, while sideswipe — 21% of the AV crashes. Again, these accidents often happen because of mistakes made by the other vehicles’ human drivers failing to overtake the self-driving car properly.
9. There are 9.1 driverless car crashes per million miles driven.
(The National Law Review)
The self-driving car accident rate is higher than the one of human-driven vehicles. That is to say, regular vehicles have a rate of 4.1 crashes per million miles driven.
Even though these cars’ goal is to prevent as many accidents as possible, they still have a long way to go to have a lower rate of accidents than regular cars.
However, when comparing the severity of injuries, fewer severe injuries are caused by self-driving cars.
Google Autonomous Car Accident Statistics
10. Waymo’s self-driving cars have been involved in 18 accidents over a period of 20 months.
That period is the whole year 2019 and the first nine months of 2020. During that time, these vehicles drove 6.1 million autonomous miles in Phoenix, Arizona, with 65,000 miles being driven without a human behind the wheel.
Namely, the self-driving car accidents mentioned involved cyclists, pedestrians, drivers, or other objects. Moreover, there were 29 disengagements — that’s when a human driver has to take control which would otherwise have ended in a crash.
11. During the period mentioned above, Waymo’s self-driving cars were involved in 29 accidents in simulation.
Almost all of these collisions (those in real life and simulation) were the fault of a pedestrian or a human driver, as per the company and its self-driving car statistics. Moreover, Wayomo assures none of those collisions ended in severe or life-threatening injuries.
12. The first accident undoubtedly caused by the new Google self-driving car happened in February 2016.
(Journal of Expertise)
Google’s car (and the driver) misestimated the situation as it believed the bus would stop to let the Google AV continue on its way. The Google car was maneuvering near some sandbags in the street and hit the bus in the next lane. There were no injuries or victims.
Stats on Tesla Autonomous Car Accidents
13. 11 Tesla self-driving vehicle accidents have been reported in the last four years.
More specifically, they resulted in 17 injuries, and unfortunately, one death. That’s why the US Department of Transportation started an investigation into the auto manufacturer Tesla’s autopilot system.
14. Three Tesla drivers have lost their lives in accidents involving Tesla’s Autopilot in the last six years.
Autonomous vehicle statistics note that one of those accidents occurred on the California freeway in August 2019. A Tesla Model 3 and a Ford Explorer pick-up crashed.
A father and his teenage son were in the Ford, and unfortunately, the teenage boy was thrown from the vehicle and died. As seen from a video, neither the driver nor the Autopilot slowed the car until a second before the crash.
15. A Tesla driver died in 2018 when the Model X SUV accelerated and crashed into a safety barrier.
(ABC 7 News)
According to his family, Walter Huang, a 38-year-old Apple engineer, didn’t think he would be part of self-driving cars crashes and believed that Tesla’s self-driving cars were more reliable and safer than regular cars.
It was later discovered that Walter was playing a video game at the time of the accident, so his hands were off the wheel. However, Tesla was criticized for not having a system that monitors driver alertness better.
16. In 2019, the self-driving Tesla Model S caused a pedestrian fatality in Florida.
This one is also part of the disturbing Tesla autonomous vehicle accidents. Namely, the car driver dropped his phone and bent down to find it. The road was ending, and the vehicle passed a stop sign and a red light. Then, the car hit a parked vehicle, killing a 22-year-old student.
This is another example of how dangerous phones while driving are. Let’s not forget that you will spend 400% more time with your eyes off the road if you use a cell phone while behind the wheel.
17. Another example of self-driving car accidents is Tesla smashing into a parked police car and a Mercedes SUV in 2021.
(NY Post, AutoWeek)
Tesla was sued for the accident which happened in Florida. When Tesla’s cars are in Autopilot mode, they tend to smash into emergency response vehicles. Similarly, A Tesla S in Autopilot crashed into a parked fire truck in Utah in 2018.
Stats on Uber Self-Driving Car Accidents
18. There have been 37 Uber test vehicle crashes.
(Business Insider, NBC News)
However, only two of them were because the car failed to identify roadway hazards. In detail, in one of these 37 accidents, the test vehicle hit a bent bicycle lane post which was partly in the test vehicle lane.
Another incident occurred because the operator took charge to escape a rapidly approaching car that was in its lane. So, the operator steered away and hit a parked car.
19. Autonomous cars statistics show that an Uber self-driving vehicle killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
(Forbes, AZ Central)
This drastically slowed its autonomous car research for a while. The final verdict states that the company won’t be charged for the death of Elaine Herzberg, 49. However, the Uber driver watching The Voice on their phone when the car hit the woman faced charges.
20. In 2019, Uber received $1 billion to continue its research and improve its car safety.
The company got its new funding from SoftBank and Japan’s auto industry. More specifically, it acquired approximately $667 million from Toyota and Denso and another $333 million from SoftBank’s Vision Fund.
That said, Uber Technologies has spent around $7.25 billion on driverless cars.
Self-Driving Cars Safety Statistics
21. Two in ten American respondents think autonomous vehicles will never be safe.
As per the same poll, 75% of respondents think that the technology of autonomous vehicles isn’t ready for primetime. Moreover, almost five in ten respondents wouldn’t get in a taxi or share a ride in a self-driving car.
However, about 34% believe that the upsides of these vehicles will outweigh the downsides.
22. Only 12% of US respondents feel safe in self-driving cars.
(Governing, The National Law Review)
Moreover, 28% of respondents don’t know how they feel about the technology. So if you want to know why self-driving cars are not safe, we can give you a few reasons.
One of the reasons is the false sense of security — these cars are called self-driving cars, so drivers act like passengers in them. At the same time, we’ve already mentioned that they’re not still fully autonomous.
Another reason is the danger of fire. Many people don’t consider Lithium-Ion the best car batteries since they are highly combustible.
The threat of cyber attacks is also present, scaring people off from driving these cars. These are only some of the reasons why people consider these cars not safe.
23. 55% of small business owners believe their fleets will be fully autonomous in 20 years.
(Global Nissan News)
Moreover, self-driving cars stats disclose that 38% believe that will happen in a decade. About 35% of the small businesses that use smarter tech in their fleets consider business efficiency as the leading motivation for upgrading their vehicles.
24. Self-driving cars will cause more traffic jams.
This was the finding of a study conducted by the University of Western Australia. If more people use self-driving cars, they can send them to cruise the city until they ask the vehicles to return to their pick-up place. In this way, there will be more vehicles in traffic.
As we’ve seen from these self-driving car statistics, self-driving cars have five levels of autonomy, which vary significantly in regard to how much a driver can sit back during the journey. That said, it won’t be too long before we reach the final level.
Since data shows that drivers still aren’t very confident about driving an autonomous car, self-driving car manufacturers need to invest more resources to enhance their software and scanning technology to ensure overall traffic safety.
People Also Ask
Driverless cars are one of the most innovative AI applications. Overall, there are over 35,000 fatalities due to vehicle crashes annually. Human driver errors cause many of them, which now, theoretically, self-driving cars can prevent.
So, there are many ways in which these cars are safer than regular ones. For instance, they don’t drive drunk, text and drive, or get tired. Moreover, these cars may enhance the mobility and independence of seniors and others who have difficulties driving.
Driverless cars will have the capacity to eliminate perception or sensing errors — accidents caused by drivers’ distraction. In addition, these cars won’t be subject to the influence of alcohol or drugs — eliminating incapacitation errors.
All in all, that accounts for somewhere around 34% of all crashes. However, that still isn’t enough to prevent half, let alone all accidents.
Many people don’t feel safe in these cars. As our statistics show, only 12% of US respondents feel safe in self-driving vehicles. So, what’s the reason people find these cars bad? One of the reasons is the danger of fire, as Lithium-Ion batteries are very combustible.
Another reason is the false sense of security — since these cars are called self-driving cars, drivers act like passengers in them. However, they’re not still fully autonomous. The threat of cyber attacks is also present, scaring people off from driving these cars.
The number of driverless cars with at least level one autonomy keeps rising every year. Projections indicate this trend will continue in the future. In 2020, there were around 35.02 million autonomous vehicles worldwide.
In addition, that number showed an increase of about 3.62 million driverless cars from 2019, when that number was about 31.4 million.
Even though there’s no official data, Statista has compiled a list of projections for the number of self-driving cars globally from 2019 to 2024. That said, the number of vehicles will probably rise by 22.8 million driverless vehicles throughout that period.
In 2021, in particular, there were around 39.06 million vehicles worldwide, an increase of 4.58 million cars from 2020. By 2024, however, that number will reach 54.2 million.
Although driverless cars can’t prevent all accidents and fatalities, they can definitely reduce them. As we’ve mentioned, by eliminating accidents caused by drivers’ distraction or incapacity, they would be eliminating around 34% of the crashes.
Moreover, given the fact that human error causes 94% of fatalities, self-driving cars would hopefully prevent that many fatalities since they are created to avoid human errors.
Furthermore, self-driving car statistics show that tens of millions of traffic fatalities will be prevented globally by the end of the century.