Google executives recently announced that since they began experimenting with self-driving cars a little over six years ago, they have had a total of 11 minor accidents, three of which happened in September 2014. The admission, as sent to the Associated Press and reported by the LA Times, is required by California state law and part of the permit process needed for self-driving cars to operate on public roads.
The head of Google’s car division, Chris Urmson, also reported that the vehicle accidents occurred over the course of 1.7 million miles worth of operation and were, for the most part, the direct result of human error. “Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident,” he stated. According to the numbers, Google’s vehicles have had approximately 0.6 accidents per 100,000 miles.
However, despite the report, records detailing the specific accidents remain a closely guarded secret that even The California Department of Motor Vehicles is unable to make public. This has critics of the self-operating machines worried and put a number of watchdog groups on edge. While Urmson’s report explains specific instances in which the machines avoided near-collisions with cyclists and pedestrians, it stops short of a thorough event breakdown. This level of opaqueness remains a sticking point for the experiment, and one in which Google shows no sign of clearing up.
Google remains the largest contender in the California self-driving car market, with a fleet of 23 Lexus SUVs; however, there are a few other automakers and part suppliers currently working on their own prototypes. How well these providers learn from their competitors and improve self-driving technology to respond to dangers in a safer manner remains to be seen, but we are eager to see the results.
If you have any questions concerning self-driving car accidents or defective auto products, please do not hesitate to contact Demas Law Group, P.C., today. We can be reached 24/7 at (916) 444-0100 for a free consultation.