Google, one of the leading manufacturers of driverless cars, has reported that their vehicles have been involved in 11 minor accidents since they started testing the technology six years ago.
Just a few months ago, Money Market UK reported that self-driving cars would be available to consumers by 2030.
This estimation has not as yet been altered, but in order for driverless cars to be tested on the open road, their manufacturers had to make public the number of accidents they have been involved in, and the numbers are cause for concern.
Google, one of the leading manufacturers of driverless cars, has reported that their vehicles have been involved in 11 minor accidents since they started testing the technology six years ago, three of which have taken place since September 2014. Chris Urmson, the leader of Google’s driverless car project, wrote in an online post that all the accidents that have taken place have caused only “light damage” with “no injuries”. In addition to this, at the time of the accidents taking place, the vehicles were not in driverless mode, and so have been put down to human error. “Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident,” wrote Urmson.
These accounts raise the debate that has long been a concern to driverless car manufacturers – that people and the media would focus on the one time something goes wrong with the technology, without taking into account the numerous times accidents were avoided. Urmson addressed this by pointing out in a more comprehensive online post that the cars actually avoided hitting other cars and cyclists while driving on the roads surrounding the technology giant’s Silicone Valley headquarters.
Google has said that their ultimate goal is to create a driverless car without a steering wheel or pedals, making it impossible for the driver to take over should the car lose control.
According to Consumer Watchdog’s John Simpson, this goal means that the accident reports from driverless car manufacturers are accessible “so people know what the heck’s going on.”