Waymo pitted its autonomous vehicles against a virtual superhuman driver to see which was safer

Waymo says it has created a new benchmark to measure the safety of its autonomous vehicles. | Photo by Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Waymo’s latest effort to prove that autonomous vehicles are safer than silly, accident-prone humans involves creating a virtual representation of a hyper-attentive driver and then pitting this fake person against its own AVs in a series of simulated tests to see which is better at crash avoidance.

(Not to spoil it or anything, but the Waymo vehicle did better.)

Improved safety has been one of the main predictions of the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry. With millions of people dying in auto crashes globally every year, AV operators are increasingly leaning on this safety case to spur regulators to pass legislation allowing more fully autonomous vehicles on the road. But while the argument seems convincing on the surface — AVs don’t get…

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