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Getting rid of human error: The promise of self-driving cars

Unless you've been avoiding the news, you are likely familiar with the fact that Google has been developing a fully autonomous vehicle for many years. Referred to as simply the "Google car," this technology could soon make human drivers unnecessary, because these vehicles can drive themselves.

If you travel from Georgia to certain parts of California, you may observe Google cars being test-driven. So far, Google's fleet has amassed approximately 1.7 million miles of road travelled, and has done so with an impeccable safety record.

According to Google, the 20 vehicles have had human occupants but only as a backup precaution. And with each vehicle putting on more than 10,000 miles per week, the fleet has been involved in just 11 minor accidents. And if you believe Google's assertion, none of those 11 accidents were caused by the self-driving cars.

While fully autonomous vehicles might seem like a neat trick or merely a convenience, they are much more than that. Self-driving cars have the potential to save lives by dramatically reducing the number of car accidents that occur each year.

When it comes down to it, the vast majority of car accidents involve human error, at least to some degree. As long as humans remain in control of vehicles, we may never be able to eliminate this hazard. That's why the idea of self-driving cars is exciting.

Google is not the only team working on self-driving cars, but the company's prototypes seem to be very advanced. Hopefully, this is a technology that could come into widespread use in the near future.

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