After several years and thousands of miles of testing autonomous cars in California and Nevada, Google finally has something to show for its work – other than driving a blind man to get a taco. According to Technology Review, Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car program, says that Google has data showing that autonomous cars are safer and smoother than actual drivers. This, of course, is a big improvement over Google's statement from 2011 that claimed autonomous cars are safer than drunk drivers.
Google has been testing autonomous cars on public roads since 2010, and it always has someone in the driver's seat. This allowed Google to test the car with both the computer and human in control, and the data reveals that the autonomous pilot has smoother braking and acceleration as well as a safer following distance than its human counterpart.
The article also says that Google's data can be helpful in proving who is at fault in an accident. One of its autonomous cars was rear-ended while stopped, and the data showed that the car had come to a smooth stop before being hit by the other driver who presumably wasn't paying enough attention.