Google Self-Driving Car Had Two Accidents In April, Reveals Monthly Report
Google publishes monthly reports detailing what progresses it made in self-driving cars, and it is painfully honest.
In its April 2016 report, Google notes that two minor accidents took place involving its autonomous vehicles. On the bright side, no victims were recorded and Google's driverless cars were not to blame for the incidents.
The first event's description explains that a vehicle hit one of Google's Lexus cars, which was stationary at the moment of the impact. The side mirror of the Lexus was a tad "folded in" due to the impact.
The second event involved a vehicle bumping into the rear side of a Google prototype.
"[When the Google car] stopped in order to yield to traffic approaching from the left on San Antonio Road, a vehicle approaching at approximately 9 mph from behind the prototype collided with the rear bumper of the prototype vehicle," Google reports [pdf].
The company notes that although both cars registered minor damage, the passengers came out unscratched.
Google underlines that collisions are part of normal traffic, and with having its cars on the road almost 24/7, such incidents are bound to happen.
The traffic laws in California force Google to report any incident involving autonomous vehicles. However, such thorough rules do not apply to the myriad of collisions that take place between human drivers. The OEM presents statistics that show 94 percent of the car accidents in the United States have one cause: human error. The company underlines that autonomous driving has the ability to lower that number by a consistent margin.
Last month's report shows that Google deployed 23 Lexus vehicles and 34 prototypes in its self-driving car program. The company is expected to add minivans to its driverless fleet soon.
Since the program debuted in 2009, Google's cars piled up 1,564,981 driverless miles.
When we're looking at the amount of driving done with a human driver overseeing the process, Google's fleet amassed about 1,085,768 miles.
A rough calculation shows that each of the self-driving cars traveled a weekly distance between 10,000 and 15,000 miles.
The incidents from April might have been mild, but Google did have more serious events in the past. In February this year, one of the company's self-driving Lexus cars hit a bus on El Camino Real, near Google's headquarter town of Mountain View, California.