AV Companies Report Getting Rear-Ended in Most Crashes, Blame Driver Error

Federal authorities have high hopes that self-driving technology will be a solution to the thousands of accidents that kill people every year. California reported a total of 3,680 motor vehicle deaths in 2016. Companies racing to bring autonomous cars to the masses have argued that the rear-end collisions with their technology are a clear indication of human fault.

Dr. Phil Koopman, a software engineer and Carnegie Mellon professor who works as a consultant for self-driving car companies, says it’s not that simple. He speculates that people may be prone to rear-ending autonomous cars because the “robots” powering the cars don’t quite mimic the behavior of human drivers.

“A possible explanation is that these cars don’t drive the same way that people do,” Koopman tells ConsumerAffairs. “And if they don’t drive the same way that people do, people’s expectations of the vehicles would be incorrect.”