On Monday, Google acknowledged that its automated cars have been involved in 11 accidents in the span of six years, but the company also claimed that the crashes were minor and resulted in minimum damage with no injuries. The disclosure was made by the chief of the self-driving car project, Chris Urmson, after an Associated Press report claimed that four self-driving cars have been involved in accidents in California since last September.
Google acknowledges accidents, claims no injuries
In a blog post, the exec informed readers that the collisions occurred over 1.7 million miles in both the self-driving mode and when being maneuvered by a driver. Regarding the accidents, Urmson stated, “Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.”
In its report, the AP noted that four self-driving cars have been involved in accidents since last September. Of these, three were reportedly owned by Google, while the fourth one was owned by Delphi Automobile. Moreover, two of these accidents happened when the car was driving itself, and the remaining two occurred while the car was operated by a human. California’s motor vehicle department, although refusing to divulge information because of confidentiality, has verified the four accidents. Overall, 48 cars have received permits to be tested on California roads, which along with Nevada, are the only two states allowing experiments with self-driving technology.
Auto industry firm Delphi reported an accident with one of its automated cars, but the other five companies that are testing self-driving cars have not documented any accidents to date.
Technology still vulnerable
Safety is critical before self-driving cars can be sold. For such cars, the camera, radar, sensors, will provide far more details of the nearby environment than normal humans can perceive. Moreover, in the case of a potential accident, the cars should react faster and be able to adjust more effectively.
Although there were no recorded injuries in the self-driving tests by Google to date, the firm’s recent report suggests that self-driving cars are still vulnerable to accidents. The U.S. search provider, which owns 23 self-driving Lexuses, started testing automated car technology in 2009 and plans to eventually come up with a car with no steering wheels or pedals.