Of the 43 Uber, autonomous vehicles currently in circulation in California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, the observation is the same: they can not travel more than 2 kilometers without the driver has to regain control.
Difficulties of adaptation, necessary human interventions to take again steering wheel: the autonomous vehicles of Uber are still far from being able to roll in full autonomy. In January and February, Uber’s autonomous vehicles traveled an average of only 1.4 and 1.6 km respectively between each take-over by a driver. And at the beginning of March, this average fell further to reach 0.8 km between each human intervention.
At the end of March 2017 in Tempe, Arizona, an autonomous Uber vehicle was hit by a car that denied him the priority. This last accident shows that, even if the autonomous vehicle is not directly responsible, it could not anticipate that arriving at an intersection a car would cut him the priority.
Similarly, the weather conditions and a poor reading of the signs can put in difficulty the autonomous vehicles. For example, in December 2016, for its first day of testing in San Francisco, Uber’s self-driving car ran a red light. In addition, the Ford Autonomous car tested in extreme conditions is in trouble as soon as it snows because cameras and sensors are blinded. Similarly, if the rain is too important and visibility bad, the Google car stops waiting for improvement. Without drivers to get back on the road, passengers can stay stuck for hours.
In addition, the human driver must regain control of Uber’s autonomous vehicles during poorly negotiated turns and when, in the face of poorly visible or erased markings on the ground, the vehicle is no longer able to identify itself. In addition, the American company has recognized that its vehicles can cross bike paths to even realize it!
In 2015, a study of the University of Michigan conducted on autonomous cars already revealed that they had twice as many accidents as conventional vehicles for the same number of kilometers traveled.
Moreover, many criticisms directly concern the driving of autonomous vehicles, especially for the comfort of passengers. Indeed, sudden flying and sudden braking force drivers to take the hand every 3.5 kilometers.
Finally, despite many advances, the limits of artificial intelligence facing a responsible driver are obvious. What responsibility will be incurred in the event of an accident, that of the person on board, that of the manufacturer or the supplier of the onboard technology? What choice will the vehicle make if it has only one passenger and a collision is imminent with ten pedestrians crossing? Will the road users who use these vehicles see all their data retrieved and used?
Evidence of the relative reliance of drivers on autonomous cars, half of the French surveyed (Observatoire des mobilités émergentes, a survey conducted in September 2016 by the ObSoCo & Chronos), is determined to “never use an autonomous vehicle”. Moreover, among the people questioned and opposed to the development of autonomous cars, 41% of users fear even a malfunction and a risk of diversion or piracy of vehicles.