Who are better drivers—autonomous vehicles or human beings?

With the rapidly increasing number of autonomous-enabled vehicles on public roads, it is important to consider that autonomous driving is not as scary as what human beings think. Autonomous cars use a sophisticated suite of sensors and software to interpret massive streams of data from outside or inside the car.

Autonomous cars improve safety because they:

  • Don’t drive drunk or text while driving
  • Communicate with other cars, better navigating traffic
  • Carry more passengers, reducing the number of vehicles
  • Provide safe transportation for the blind, elderly, and children

Distracted driving has replaced drunk driving as the leading cause of car crashes on our roads today. Autonomous cars solve these issues and also expand transportation options and relieve congestion.

When assessing whether machines are better than human beings at some tasks, we are cautious, especially when making this determination requires relinquishing control of driving. We naturally bring our prior experiences, preconceived notions, and biases to the table.

In this paper, Milliman’s Sheri Scott takes to her Tesla and provides a statistical framework to study whether—and by how much—an autonomous car drives better than a human being.

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