Driverless cars can cause nausea in some, and boredom in other cases, but the main anxiety is whether, without a driver, they can really be safe. Based on some reports, they are not always. Now Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) has released accident data about its “robot car,” and some of the results are not encouraging.
According to Consumer Watchdog:
Google today said it would issue regular reports offering some details of crashes involving its driverless cars. The public interest group said more details are still needed.
Presumably no one has been seriously injured, and Google will not release the car until it is deemed absolutely safe. But Consumer Watchdog is not satisfied with that and wants a regular accounting:
Google released its first of what it said would be monthly reports on a website dedicated to the driverless car project. Included in the report is a synopsis written by Google of the twelve accidents since it began testing the robot cars in 2009.
“We now know a few more details of what happened,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director. “The problem is that it’s Google’s version and they want us to take their word for it.”
For the time being, the organization appears to be satisfied that it only needs information from Google, which is odd. Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) claims it has an early and only partial version of a car that can drive itself. Volvo has started experiments. BMW has begun to do advanced testing. Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) president forecast his company will have a driverless car within five years. No organization has agitated in public to get more information for the tests of all these experiments.
Google’s driverless car has gotten the most media coverage, more than all these other efforts. It has drawn scrutiny because of that visibility.