Google Data Shows Self-Driving Car Not at Fault in Accidents

June 06 18:04 2015 Print This Article
Google's Self-Driving car prototype - Image credited to Google.

Google’s Self-Driving car prototype – Image credited to Google.

The sheer thought of seeing a car going down the road without a driver is a little scary to say the least. However, Google’s self-driving car seems to be doing just fine without a driver – at least, according to accident data released recently by the search engine giant turned car maker.

In the Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report for May, Google states that its self-driving vehicles have been involved in a total of 12 accidents since the program started in 2009. According to the report, all 12 accidents were minor “fender benders” and no one was ever hurt or injured. Out of the 12 collisions, only half occurred when the car was actually self driving in autonomous mode.

According to the Google data, the self-driving car was bumped or clipped by other vehicles in all of the accidents. Google’s self-driving cars never received more than “minor damage” and were deemed to never have been at fault in any of the accidents.

Self-driving cars produced by Google have driven more than 1.8 millions miles since the program started back in 2009. This translates into one accident every 150,000 miles, which is not too shabby if you consider accident statistics for human drivers.

The director of Google’s self-driving car program, Chris Umson, has released accident stats in the past. However, the latest Google report provides a much more detailed accounting for each accident involving their self-driving cars.

While the limited accident data is not a great indicator of how well Google Self-Driving cars will perform on a wider scale — Google currently only has 23 self-driving vehicles traversing public roads — the results detailed in the report do indicate that the vehicles may be relatively safe.

Even with the progress being made in self-driving-vehicle technology, though, the cars still have their critics. Some, such as Patrick Lin of The Atlantic, have also questioned the ethics of self-driving cars and the threats they may pose. Nevertheless, it looks like self-driving cars may be commonplace a little faster than many of us thought.

If you would like to view or download a copy of the latest Google report for self-driving car accident data, you can do so by clicking here.


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