Google and Volvo are also making strides to further their development of autonomous vehicle technology

Driverless AI in cars compared against human drivers

A study comparing driverless car artificial intelligence (AI) with real, human drivers is being conducted by the University of Southampton.

The study invites participants to view a white Tesla Model S driving on the motorway and attempt to determine whether it is driven by a human or a computer.

The research team said that the project will help them to understand people's perceptions of automated vehicles.

The Tesla can be seen making lane changes in a series of four to five second videos of a car with participants asked to give their assumptions.

The car model was chosen as it is one of the first vehicles to be released with a limited form of driverless functionality. Ironically Tesla scaled back the autopilot mode after its initial release because it displayed some dangerous behaviours in rare incidences.

The survey, which can be taken from any computer or mobile device, takes around 10 minutes in total.

Those who take part must have held a full driving license for at least one year and have had regular experience driving on the roads.

Automakers are ramping up their efforts to bring driverless technology to mass market as soon as possible.

Volvo Cars is currently planning to send around 100 autonomous vehicles to China in order to carry out a series of driving experiments in which local drivers will test the cars on public roads in everyday driving conditions.

The company is expected to begin negotiations with interested cities in China to see which is able to provide the necessary permissions, regulations and infrastructure to allow the experiment to go ahead.

It is focusing its efforts on the safety benefits offered by the new technology which is theoretically better at driving that human counterparts.

“Autonomous driving can make a significant contribution to road safety,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo chief executive. “The sooner AD cars are on the roads, the sooner lives will start being saved.”

“There are multiple benefits to AD cars. That is why governments need to put in place the legislation to allow AD cars onto the streets as soon as possible. The car industry cannot do it all by itself. We need governmental help.”

Meanwhile, Google is also expanding its research into the field with its intention to bring its driverless vehicles to Phoenix to see how the SUVs perform in the high temperature climate of an Arizona summer.

Google has sent four autonomous vehicles to the state to drive driven around mapping portions of the metro area before testing the cars in real-world conditions.

"Arizona is known as a place where research and development is welcome, innovation can thrive and companies can set up roots," said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project. "The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air."

Although the search giant has made impressive strides on the path to perfecting the technology, the AI system is still not completely reliable.

It recently admitted ‘some responsibility’ for a crash involving one of its vehicles and a municipal bus.

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