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Self-driving car industry picks up speed

By  : INDICS Operator Updated  :   2018-07-25 13:39:14

Source: China Daily

The CEO of a leading US autonomous car development company said in a national meeting Friday that he is confident more people will be comfortable with a self-driving car in the near future.

"I look at that and say, holy cow, that's amazing! Twenty-five percent of Americans will ride a self-driving car, and they really have no idea how it works," said Waymo Inc CEO John Krafcik. "That's an incredible level of trust."

Waymo is a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc.

Krafcik said that the company's cars have traveled 8 million miles on public roads, which is roughly 25,000 miles every day.

He was the guest at the "Ahead of the Curve, Innovation Governors" opening plenary of the 2018 National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Santa Fe last Thursday through Saturday.

The plenary included a progress update on Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval's technology innovation initiative, which he announced when he became the 2017-18 NGA chairman in July 15, 2017.

The initiative focuses on how states could support technology innovation. It also looks at how disruptive technologies, such as self-driving cars and drone aircraft, are impacting business in the energy and transportation sectors.

China's National Development and Reform Commission released a blueprint in January that outlined the country's plan to push self-driving technologies forward. China expects smart cars, with partially or fully autonomous functions, to account for 50 percent of new cars in the nation by 2020.

Experts believe China will be one of the biggest markets for self-driving cars, and many Chinese companies already have launched such projects, including Baidu, DiDi and Tencent.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles' 2017 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports, Waymo has one of the best records of the 19 companies that tested vehicles in the Golden State in terms of system-disengagement rates.

Disengagement happens when a human driver is forced to take control of the self-driving vehicle.

Baidu's self-driving cars drove 1971.74 autonomous miles from October 2016 through November 2017, with 48 instances of system disengagements, according to the DMV.

In comparison, Waymo'cars logged 352,544.6 miles from December 2016 through November 2017, with 63 instances of system disengagements.

Krafcik said part of the reason that he is attracted to the idea of autonomous cars is that human drivers are more prone to accidents.

"The aviation industry has for the most part professional pilots, and in the automobile industry you have us people driving these cars," he said. "We are not professionals, and I think that's the problem, right?"

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