Even self-driving cars report accidents: Google

Published on May 12, 2015 13:54:54 PM
Google said on Monday that even the self-driving cars, which can sense and react faster when compared to humans, tend to meet with accidents.

Chris Urmson, the head of Google's autonomous car program, said in an online post that "We've been hit from behind seven times, mainly at traffic lights but also on the freeway."

"We've also been side-swiped a couple of times and hit by a car rolling through a stop sign."

According to Urmson, the self-driving cars that are more than 20 in number have been in 11 minor accidents in the six years after launch of the project and did not cause any damage.

The self driving cars comprise of safety drivers at their wheels to take over when deemed appropriate and have travelled about 1.7 million miles, according to the California-based internet titan.

"Even when our software and sensors can detect a sticky situation and take action earlier and faster than an alert human driver, sometimes we won't be able to overcome the realities of speed and distance; sometimes we'll get hit just waiting for a light to change," Urmson said.

"And that's important context for communities with self-driving cars on their streets; although we wish we could avoid all accidents, some will be unavoidable."

"All the crazy experiences we've had on the road have been really valuable for our project," Urmson said.

"We have a detailed review process and try to learn something from each incident, even if it hasn't been our fault," he said.

"Unbelievably, Google is planning to offer its robot cars without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator so there would be no way for a person to take control in an emergency," Consumer Watchdog president John Simpson said in a letter to Google.

"That plan underscores the need for the public to know the full details of all accidents."

Accident reports are considered confidential by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.