Autonomous Car Accident Statistics

Autonomous Car Accident Statistics

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Autonomous vehicles, or self-driving cars, have been a topic of discussion and research for several years. Autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies such as sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence algorithms that enable them to navigate roads without human intervention.

The promise of autonomous vehicles is that they could greatly reduce the number of accidents caused by human error, which is a leading cause of car accidents. However, as with any new technology, there have been concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles, particularly in cases where accidents do occur.

What are the SAE Levels?

The Society of Automotive Engineers has published a document describing a taxonomy to classify systems into six Levels of Driving Automation. These SAE Levels are used to describe varying degrees of driving automation that perform all or part of the dynamic driving task on a sustained basis and vary from Level 0 (no driving automation) to Level 5 (full driving automation). 

Level 0: No Driving Automation

Level 1: Driver Assistance

Level 2: Partial Driving Automation

Level 3: Conditional Driving Automation

Level 4: High Driving Automation

Level 5: Full Driving Automation

Currently, vehicles equipped with Level 2 ADAS are widely available for consumer purchase, and often combine technologies such as lane centering and adaptive cruise control.

Self-Driving Car Accident Statistics

  • In 2019, there were 36,096 deaths on U.S. roads, with an estimated 94% of crashes caused by human error.
  • In 2020, the global autonomous vehicle market was valued at $27.08 billion, with a projected growth rate of 63.1% from 2021 to 2028.
  • The U.S. Department of Transportation has predicted that fully autonomous vehicles could reduce traffic fatalities by up to 94%.
  • According to a study by the Rand Corporation, autonomous vehicles would need to be driven hundreds of millions of miles before their safety could be accurately assessed.
  • In 2020, Waymo’s autonomous vehicles drove a total of 6.1 million miles in California, with a disengagement rate of 0.076 per 1,000 miles.
  • According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, autonomous vehicles could prevent up to 34% of all fatal accidents in the U.S.
  • Autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been involved in over 80 accidents in California alone as of January 2021.
  • Of those accidents, 10 involved AVs causing injuries to human drivers or passengers.
  • In 2018, a pedestrian was killed by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona.
  • In 2019, a Tesla driver was killed in Florida while using the Autopilot system.
  • AVs have the potential to reduce fatalities on the road by up to 90% according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.
  • AVs have an accident rate of 9.1 per million miles driven, compared to a human-driven car accident rate of 4.1 per million miles driven.
  • AVs have a lower severity of accidents than human-driven cars, with only minor injuries reported in most cases.
  • In 2019, Waymo reported that its AVs had driven over 20 million miles on public roads, with only 47 accidents reported, none of which were caused by the AVs.
  • In 2018, a self-driving shuttle bus in Las Vegas was involved in an accident on its first day of operation, but no injuries were reported.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that AVs may not eliminate all crashes, but could potentially reduce the severity and frequency of crashes.
  • A 2019 report by the Rand Corporation found that AVs may not be able to prevent all crashes caused by human error, such as drunk driving or speeding.
  • The NHTSA has proposed new regulations for AVs, including requiring them to be equipped with backup cameras and other safety features.
  • In 2019, Audi announced that it would be introducing a new feature that would allow its cars to communicate with traffic lights to improve safety.
  • As of 2021, over 62 companies are working on self-driving car technology.
  • By 2030, it is estimated that one in four cars will be autonomous.
  • The average cost of a self-driving car in 2021 is around $75,000.
  • According to a survey, 59% of Americans are afraid of riding in a self-driving car.
  • Tesla’s Autopilot system has been involved in several accidents, including at least three fatalities.
  • Google’s self-driving cars have driven over 10 million miles since the project began in 2009.
  • It is estimated that the global self-driving car market will be worth $54 billion by 2026.
  • The self-driving car market in North America is expected to reach $24.2 billion by 2030.
  • The self-driving car market in Europe is expected to reach $28.7 billion by 2030.
  • The self-driving car market in Asia-Pacific is expected to reach $36.6 billion by 2026.
  • The Chinese Autonomous Vehicles Market is projected to reach US$ 98.89 Billion by 2030.
  • The self-driving truck market is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2025.
  • 72% of Americans believe that self-driving cars will become more common in the next 10 years.
  • As of 2023, seven states—Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia—do not require a driver behind the wheel or for the driver to be licensed if they are (SAE Level 4 or 5).
  • The first self-driving car was developed in the 1980s by Carnegie Mellon University.
  • As of 2021, over 5 million miles have been driven by autonomous vehicles in California.
  • Self-driving cars could reduce traffic congestion by up to 60%.
  • The global autonomous vehicle market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 39.47% from 2021 to 2028.
  • The average commute time in the US is 27 minutes, and self-driving cars could allow people to use this time more productively.
  • Self-driving cars could reduce the number of parking spaces needed by up to 90%.
  • The main benefit of self-driving cars is increased safety, but they could also save time and reduce stress.
  • In 2021, Cruise, a self-driving car company owned by GM, raised $2.75 billion in funding.
  • According to a survey, 68% of Americans would be willing to use a self-driving car if it were available today.
  • Self-driving cars could reduce the number of car-related deaths by up to 90%.
  • Autonomous vehicles could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60%.
  • In 2021, Waymo launched a fully autonomous ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • According to a survey, 56% of Americans believe that self-driving cars will improve the quality of life for the elderly and disabled.
  • Self-driving cars could reduce the cost of car insurance by up to 90%.
  • According to a survey, 58% of Americans believe that self-driving cars will improve the environment.
  • In 2019, Tesla announced that it plans to have a fully self-driving car on the road by the end of the year.

Describing ADS

ADAS stands for “advanced driver assistance system,” and Level 2 refers to SAE Level 2 driving automation technologies. ADAS provides partial driving automation that assists an attentive driver. In a vehicle equipped with ADAS, the driver must continually monitor the driving environment, and always be prepared to provide steering, braking, and throttle inputs.

ADS stands for “automated driving system” and refers to SAE Levels 3-5 driving automation technologies. In its mature state, a vehicle equipped with ADS aims to perform the entire dynamic driving task on a sustained basis within a defined operational design domain without driver involvement. While these vehicles are in development and are being tested on public roads in limited capacities, they are not available for consumer purchase at this time.

Describing Level 2 ADS

Level 2 systems, which can simultaneously support vehicle lane position, speed, and following distance, have already been installed on millions of vehicles and are becoming increasingly available as standard or optional equipment in many new vehicles across most manufacturers.

What Can We Can Learn from this Data?

Analyzing self-driving car accident data can provide valuable insights into the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles, as well as show areas for improvement in their design and operation.

Safety Performance

Analyzing self-driving car accident data can help us identify how frequently accidents occur, what types of accidents are most common and how severe the injuries or damages are. It can also help us understand how self-driving cars compare to human-driven cars in terms of safety.


Analyzing accident statistics can help identify vulnerabilities in the technology, such as sensors, software, or communication systems, that may lead to accidents. This information can then be used to improve the design and performance of autonomous vehicles.

Improve Regulations

Accident statistics can also help policymakers and regulators develop rules and regulations that promote the safe operation of autonomous vehicles. By analyzing the data, they can better understand the risks and challenges associated with self-driving cars, and design policies that mitigate those risks.

Training and Development

Analyzing accident data can also be used to train and develop better autonomous vehicle algorithms, as engineers can study real-world scenarios and understand how self-driving cars can respond in various situations.

Overall, analyzing self-driving car accident statistics can provide valuable insights into the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles, and help improve their design, development, and operation.