How Many Fatalities Have Been Due to Self-Driving Vehicles? – 72 AI-mazing Statistics (2021-2022)

From the music we discover to the dates we go on, our life is increasingly directed by the invisible hand of AI. Artificial intelligence and sophisticated algorithms have a huge influence on our cultural and emotional lives.

So it’s no surprise we’re putting AI in the driver’s seat – literally. Self-driving cars are hitting the road, making long drives feel like a walk in the park.

But how much can we trust AI with the life-or-death decisions that take place at high speeds?

And are people really ready to let automated vehicles take over our roads? How are governments going to deal with the legislative questions that come from the shift in responsibility for road safety?

When it comes to self-driving cars, we sit on the edge of the future. And that raises some big questions.

Keep your eyes on the road, but here’s some self-driving car data at a glance.

Key Insights:

  • Over 90% of newly manufactured vehicles feature some level of autonomy.
  • But only 40% of Americans are comfortable with fully autonomous vehicles.
  • Self-driving cars could save 585,000 lives between 2035 and 2050.
  • They could improve fuel economy by 44% by 2050.
  • Google’s Waymo vehicle has driven the most miles at 20 million.
  • And legislation around self-driving cars has been introduced in 29 states.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy the ride – here are 72 AI-mazing self-driving car statistics.

Self Driving Car Statistics (2021-2022)

From Knight Rider’s self-driving technology to HAL-9000, the megalomanic AI in 2001: A Space Odyssey, artificial intelligence can be seen as the savior of humanity or its downfall.

Let’s take a look at all the statistics you need to unravel the conundrum of self-driving cars.

How Many Fatalities Have Been Due to Self-Driving Vehicles?

So far, there have been 6 fatal accidents where the driver was using autopilot. In addition to this, two pedestrians have been killed by autonomous vehicles. The first death caused by an autonomous vehicle happened in Florida in 2015.

A Tesla Model S using Autopilot failed to recognize an 18-wheeler, and the driver died in the ensuing collision.

The first death of a pedestrian occurred in 2018, an Uber autonomous vehicle crashed in Tempe, Arizona, killing a woman pushing her bike through a crosswalk.

Will Self Driving Cars Be Popular?

Even in 2022, 61% of Americans aren’t comfortable with self-driving cars and three out of four would prefer to manually operate their own vehicle. However, 40% of 25-34 year olds favor the technology: self-driving cars will be more popular in the future.

Clearly, the rise of AI in our vehicles seems to split public opinion – does AI’s split-second decision-making make us safer? Or are the machines taking over?

Let’s check out the attitudes to self-driving cars.

2017

  • Just 16% of Americans are “very likely” to be passengers in a self-driving vehicle.
  • 28% of Americans say they’re “not likely at all” to ride in self-driving cars.
  • That puts the majority of Americans – 56% – on the fence about autonomous vehicles.

2019

  • In a 2019 survey, AAA found that 71% of Americans were afraid to ride in a fully automated vehicle.
  • This followed a series of high-profile incidents and was up from 63% the year before.
  • Consumer attitudes to self-driving cars are, therefore, still highly changeable.
  • Drivers with ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) are 68% more likely to trust these systems than drivers without them.
  • And 57% of Americans who are familiar with self-driving vehicles were comfortable riding in them.
  • More than half of Americans (53%) are fully comfortable with automated vehicles in slow, short-distance contexts such as theme parks or airports.

2022

  • Since COVID, 26% of Americans have a more favorable view of autonomous vehicles.
  • And 49% of Americans view automated delivery technology in a positive light.
  • A whopping 98% of riders in “robotaxi” rides in Las Vegas have given the technology a five-star review.
  • 55% of small business owners think that they will have autonomous vehicle fleets within two decades.
  • 2 in 5 Americans are willing to ride as a passenger in someone else’s autonomous vehicle.
  • But 61% of Americans still aren’t comfortable with self-driving cars.
  • And 3 out of 4 Americans would prefer to manually operate their car.
  • However, Americans who dislike driving are three times as likely to anticipate purchasing a self-driving vehicle: 36%, compared to 11% of Americans who enjoy driving.
  • Men are slightly more likely to relinquish control of their vehicle.
  • Whilst women are more inclined towards caution when it comes to self-driving technology.
  • 53% of women think self-driving vehicles need a backup human operator compared to 32% of men.
  • 40% of 25 to 34-year-olds are comfortable with fully autonomous vehicles: the younger generation is closer to embracing this technology.

Are There Self-Driving Cars In 2022?

Self-driving cars still seem like science fiction but as of 2022 there are over 1,400 self-driving cars being tested in the United States. The 2022 Mercedes S-Class features Level 3 automation which means the vehicle has the capacity for fully autonomous driving.

It’s clear that Americans still house great reservations when it comes to fully autonomous vehicles. But we’ve also seen that those with greater familiarity with autonomous safety features are more likely to put their trust in those features. Let’s take a look at how self-driving vehicles are expanding across the country.

  • In 2015, an Audi nicknamed “the Roadrunner” went coast to coast. For 99% of that time, the vehicle was in full control.
  • There are over 1,400 fully self-driving cars being tested in the United States.
  • And there are 60 million vehicles with ADAS in the US – a “second-tier” of autonomy that includes pedestrian detection, lane correction, and automated braking.
  • And over 90% of new vehicles have at least one ADAS feature.
  • As of 2022, consumers can’t purchase fully autonomous vehicles.
  • But Mercedes’ upcoming S-Class will be the first internationally recognized vehicle with Level 3 automation, meaning that the vehicle can be fully autonomous in certain contexts.

Are Self Driving Cars Safe?

Vehicles using autopilot are more likely to crash than manually operated vehicles, but these accidents consistently occur at lower speeds. That means that autonomous vehicles result in fewer fatal accidents. Tesla claims that its Autopilot feature was used for 130 million miles before a single accident occurred.

It’s clear that there’s a long road ahead to seeing fully autonomous vehicles on our roads. And much of the debate centers around the safety features: are self-driving cars making us safer, or are we taking our eye off the ball, along with the road?

  • Autopilot vehicles are more likely to crash than cars operated by humans: per million miles, self-driving cars have 9.1 accidents, compared to 4.1 for manually operated vehicles.
  • But these accidents occur more often at lower speeds, meaning autonomous vehicles result in fewer fatal accidents.
  • In November 2018, a pedestrian named Elaine Hezerberg became the first fatality from a self-driving car accident. She was killed by an Uber automat4ed vehicle.
  • But prosecutors determined that Uber wasn’t liable for the fatal accident.
  • Tesla claims that its Autopilot feature was used for 130 million miles before a fatality occurred.
  • Google’s Waymo vehicle was involved in 18 minor incidents in 2020.
  • Data from Tesla indicated that an accident happens every four million miles when autopilot is engaged.
  • Waymo – Google’s self-driving vehicle – requires the fewest number of driver interventions.
  • There have been six deaths from accidents involving self-driving cars on Autopilot.
  • And a total of two pedestrian deaths from self-driving cars.

29 states have passed legislation around self-driving vehicles and another 15 states have pending legislation on the subject. The majority of these laws are creating contexts in which self-driving vehicles can operate – self-driving cars are becoming legal across America and they aren’t banned in any state.

As texting and driving statistics have shown, technological advancement often leaves governments playing catch-up. In the case of self-driving cars, the market is closely monitored. Let’s see how the law is changing as autonomous cars hit the road.

  • More than half (51%) of Americans are curious about how laws will ensure that autonomous vehicles are safe.
  • 57% of Americans want to better understand where the legal responsibility lies if an autonomous vehicle contributes to an accident.
  • Motor vehicles companies are required to report any serious accident involving autonomous technology.
  • 29 states have passed new legislation relating to autonomous vehicles. These are:
    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Kentucky
    • Louisiana
    • Maine
    • Michigan
    • Mississippi
    • Nebraska
    • New York
    • Nevada
    • North Carolina
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Texas
    • Utah
    • Virginia
    • Vermont
    • Washington
    • Wisconsin
  • And a further 14 states have pending or failed legislation around automated vehicles.
  • In Alabama, self-driving trucks are actually exempted from certain traffic laws.
  • And in Connecticut, drivers of automated vehicles are required to have $5 million in insurance.
  • In Illinois, local authorities are prohibited from using autonomous vehicles in their fleets.
  • Many states, from Mississippi to Indiana, exempt automated vehicles from following-too-close laws.
  • In Nebraska, an April 2018 law permitted driverless vehicles to operate with certain safety considerations.
  • North Carolina has anticipated fully autonomous vehicles by creating a law stating that passengers won’t require a driving license.
  • But an adult will have to accompany children under 12 years old.

How Much Is The Market For Self-Driving Cars Worth?

Globally, the market for self-driving cars is worth $54 billion dollars and it’s growing at 16% every year. The self-driving car market is projected to grow to $800 billion by 2035.

Despite many American citizens’ concerns, the market for autonomous vehicles is booming. From innovators like Tesla to big-name brands such as Mercedes-Benz, everyone wants in on the action.

  • Globally, the market for autonomous vehicles is worth $54 billion.
  • And the global market for autonomous vehicles grows by 16% each year.
  • Projections indicate that China will become the biggest market for autonomous vehicles and that 66% of passengers miles will be undertaken by self-driving cars by 2040.
  • Audi plans to invest $16 billion in self-driving technology by 2023.
  • Tesla has raised over $20 billion to advance its autonomous vehicle technology.
  • It’s estimated that Tesla made $9 billion in revenue for vehicle sales in 2020.
  • Even the US government is investing $4 billion in self-driving technology.
  • The industry is projected to be worth $800 billion by 2035.
  • And could be worth $7 trillion by 2050 according to modeling by Strategy Analytics.
  • 800,000 self-driving cars will be produced across the globe by 2030.

What Company Makes Self-Driving Cars?

Cruise, Tesla and Waymo (owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc.) are all developing the AI required for self-driving cars. But almost every car manufacturer on the market now sells a vehicle with some level of self-driving technology – the new Mercedes S-Class is the first to feature Level 3 automation.

Whilst Tesla makes most of the headlines with its self-driving technology, there are many players in the automated vehicle game. Let’s take a look at the big players in self-driving cars.

  • Google’s Waymo has driven 20 million miles on public roads.
  • And Waymo also boasts a further 20 billion miles of simulation testing.
  • In 2020, Uber sold its self-driving car subsidiary to the start-up Aurora Technologies.
  • Tesla’s Model S was their first autonomous vehicle. It was released in 2014 and equipped with autonomous steering, braking, and speed adjustment.
  • 11% of Teslas sold in 2021 were equipped with FDS (full self-driving) technology).
  • The Mercedes S-Class will be the first car with level 3 autonomous technology on the road.
  • Almost every car manufacturer you’re familiar with has a vehicle with autonomous features. These include:
    • Tesla
    • Waymo
    • Uber
    • Ford
    • Mercedes-Benz
    • Nissan
    • BMW
    • Audi
    • Toyota
    • Infiniti
    • Lexus
    • Honda
    • Volvo
    • Hyundai
  • Even tech giants Apple are developing their own self-driving technology, under Project Titan.
  • And Apple aims to launch a self-driving car in 2025.

Will Self-Driving Cars Help The Environment?

Self-driving cars can reduce harmful emissions by an astonishing 60% and AI can boost fuel economy by 5-7%. Fuel economy in self-driving vehicles is estimated to have increased by 44% by 2050. That means self-driving cars will play an important role in saving the planet.

The technology for fully autonomous vehicles is still emerging, but thanks to huge investment we see some utopic predictions for the future of our roads. From reduced emissions to lives saved, is it time to put our faith in AI?

  • Self-driving vehicles can have a 60% reduction in harmful emissions.
  • And driverless vehicles currently enable an increased fuel economy by 5 – 7%.
  • And it’s estimated that by 2050, autonomous vehicles could increase fuel efficiency by 44%!
  • 75% of Americans anticipate that self-driving vehicles will positively impact the elderly and disabled people.
  • A study from Strategy Analytics suggests that autonomous vehicles could save 585,000 lives between 2035 and 2050.

Self Driving Car

Frequently Asked Question on Self Driving Car Statistics

Self-driving car facts often pose a number of questions. The robots aren’t quite taking over yet – let’s clear up some confusion about autonomous vehicles.

When Will We Have Fully Autonomous Vehicles?

As of 2022, self-driving cars are limited to Level 2, with Level 3 autonomous vehicles coming soon. We’re still some years off having fully self-driving cars, but fully autonomous vehicles could exceed human safety levels by 2024, paving the way for Level 4 vehicles to hit the market.

What Are The Levels Of Self-Driving Technology?

There are five levels of self-driving technology – they range from 0 to 4. The levels are:

Level 0 Autonomous Driving – manual driving.
Level 1 Autonomous Driving – driver assistance.
Level 2 Autonomous Driving – partial automation.
Level 3 Autonomous Driving – conditional automation.
Level 4 Autonomous Driving – high automation.

Currently, the highest level of automation on the market is Level 2, as seen in Tesla’s Model S and Model X. Level 2, known as partial automation, allows for the car to take over in certain contexts. For example, on the highway, the car can steer, brake, and accelerate – but the driver is required to keep their hands on the wheel.

The upcoming Mercedes S-Class will be the first self-driving car to hit the market with Level 3 of autonomous driving. Mercedes’ DrivePilot technology can take full control of the vehicle and notify the driver when they have to take over.

Wrapping Up…

If you’re imagining a commute to work with a newspaper open and a slice of toast in hand, then we’re not quite there yet.

Most self-driving cars require you to keep your eyes on the road. Autonomous vehicles make life easier for the driver, but you can’t put your feet up yet.

However, upcoming autonomous vehicles will be equipped with more powerful AI than ever. Apple’s self-driving vehicle may do away with the steering wheel altogether, as a powerful symbol of the system taking over.

Despite these innovations, American attitudes aren’t keeping up with the technology. Consumers are still wary of self-driving technology and opinion is deeply susceptible to negative press.

For the time being, we’ll have to keep our eyes on the road.


Sources:

  • 13 Fascinating Facts About Self Driving Cars. Retrieved from SalviLaw
  • Autonomous Vehicle Statistics. Retrieved from Gerber Injury Law
  • Self-driving Car. Retrieved from Wikipedia
  • Automated Vehicles for Safety. Retrieved from NHTSA
  • Three in Four Americans Remain Afraid of Fully Self-Driving Vehicles. Retrieved from AAA
  • Uber self-driving cars allowed back on California roads. Retrieved from BBC
  • Tesla driver dies in first fatal crash while using autopilot mode. Retrieved from The Guardian

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Robert Muñoz

I’m Robert, a US-based auto electrician, auto mechanic, trained engineer and fanatic about all things motor vehicle. After studying engineering in college I returned to my original passion - car mechanics - and I ran a garage for a number of years serving my local community. Through my garage, I got involved in numerous road safety campaigns in my local area until eventually, I decided to share what I've learned with the world. Know more about me... You can follow me on LinkedIn.

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