Research & Discoveries (R&D): White Paper Establishes New Benchmark To Highlight Cruise AV Safety

On top of the innovation to build autonomous vehicles (AVs), academics and experts around the world are studying how AVs can improve safety, enhance mobility, and create new economic opportunities, among other transformative benefits. AVIA’s Research & Discoveries (R&D) Series highlights these reports’ findings about how AVs can create a safer and more mobile world.

Need To Know (NTK): White Paper Shows AVs Are Even Safer Than Previously Reported
A newly published white paper establishes a new benchmark for measuring human driving performance in a dense urban environment. Placing this refined human-driven data set next to the safety performance of Cruise AVs in San Francisco, the white paper demonstrates that Cruise AVs are even safer than previously reported.

The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) conducted this new, comprehensive study in partnership with Cruise and General Motors to establish a robust benchmark safety standard for human-driven ride-hail. By tracking over 5.6 million miles of human ride-hail driving, researchers developed a rigorous data set to evaluate collision rates and risk of injuries. Comparing the findings from this white paper to Cruise AV safety performance after 1 million miles reaffirms that AVs outperform human drivers by encountering far fewer collisions, collisions with meaningful injury risk, and collisions as a primary contributor.

When benchmarked against human drivers in a comparable driving environment, Cruise AVs were involved in:

Initially, Cruise released data showing AVs outperformed the average human driver by a large margin. After establishing more robust comparative metrics, this white paper’s more refined estimate reveals that Cruise AVs are even safer than initial calculations revealed.

Contextually, the reality of human drivers is catastrophic:

Research from the RAND Corporation projects that “the deployment of AVs that are on average 10% safer than the average human driver could prevent 600,000 fatalities in the US over 35 years.”

As Cruise continues to collect driverless miles, their intent was to set a meaningful and reasonable human benchmark for measuring safety performance. Cruise will now use the precise human ride-hail benchmark for updating its safety record moving forward and encourage others to adopt a similar standard to compare safety performance.