Following the storm of coverage about their self-driving cars being involved in accidents Google has said human drivers are to blame
If you follow the tech industry closely then you’ve probably seen all the stories covering the accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars. Creating a media storm about how safe the cars really were that blew up faster than anyone could have predicted. Google has admitted that in the six years since starting the project their cars have been in 11 minor accidents; four of those have happened in the last 9 months. Now Google spokesman Chris Urmson has another key piece of information for the public about those accidents.
According to Urmson none of those accidents were caused by Google’s self-driving cars. In a blog post Urmson says that the self-driving cars have been sideswiped “a couple times”, rear ended seven times, and nailed by a car running through a stop sign. None of the accidents caused injuries and any other data is hard to come by. Minor accidents are usually not reported to the police giving the DMV no data to analyze.
That makes it that much more difficult for Google and car manufacturers to improve their self-driving car programs to lower the number of accidents. Despite that Urmson says “We have a detailed review process and try to learn something from each incident, even if it hasn’t been our fault,” Although much of that information isn’t made available to the public, the majority of what we know comes from an [highlight]AP report [/highlight]saying that two of the four recent accidents happened when the car was in self-driving mode.
The other two incidents happened while a person was driving, obviously putting the blame on human error instead of the program. If Google’s data is to be believed that should come as no surprise, since the company blames human error for all of the accidents. Citing that their fleet of 20 self-driving cars have sensors to help them detect and avoid obstacles like people or other cars. The cars also sport GPS tracking, radar, and software that recognizes and reacts to street signals and signs.
Using all of the data their self-driving cars have collected Google claims they’ve identified a number of dangerous human driver patterns. Programing their cars to react to things like lane drifting, people running red lights, and lane cutting. None of that means these vehicles are incapable of causing an accident. Self-driving cars may be safer than human drivers in many ways but we are a long ways from making them perfectly safe.