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Google's self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents

By Shawn Knight · 18 replies
May 11, 2015
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  1. google

    Although you’re likely to be much safer with an autonomous driving system transporting you around town, accidents are still bound to happen if left on the road long enough. Since last September, four of the 48 self-driving vehicles licensed to operate in the state of California have been involved in fender-benders according to a report from the Associated Press.

    In a separate article, Google’s self-driving car program director Chris Urmson revealed that in the six years the search giant has been operating its autonomous program, they’ve been involved in just 11 accidents – all of which involved light damage and no injuries.

    Best yet, the self-driving system wasn’t responsible for a single accident according to Google.


    Urmson said Google cars have been rear-ended seven times, mostly while sitting stopped at a traffic light but also occasionally on the highway. The team’s safety drivers have also been side-swiped a couple of times and even hit by a car rolling through a stop sign.

    All of this information has been valuable during the development phase, Urmson said. And as you can imagine, the team has seen some pretty crazy stuff from fellow drivers during the 1.7 million miles they’ve logged. It’s not uncommon for Google safety drivers to see people weaving in and out of their lanes while playing on their smartphones, reading books or even playing a trumpet (yes, that apparently did happen).

    All images via Medium

    Permalink to story.

  2. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    I hope my son (2 now) is the last generation to get (or never get) a drivers license. To many stupid people on the road. Give me a robot any-day - faster reaction time, 360-degree views, 'telepathy', and a giant time-saver. Set the button for a 5-hour road trip and relax, play a game, watch a movie, go to sleep... whatever you want :)
  3. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,375   +71

    I guess the insurance companies won't go out of business.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,797   +4,605

    At least not as long as there are people still in control.
  5. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 539   +175

    You know, I'm a little peeved at how the title is a little bit of a bait. Yes, the article explains how not a single accident was the fault of the vehicle but you know... you know the title is bait. There is no story here because there are no malfunctions.
    H3llion, yRaz and cliffordcooley like this.
  6. "Best yet, the self-driving system wasn’t responsible for a single accident according to Google."

    As a member of the minority party that believes such technologies only facilitate the nurturing of enfeebled humans, I can only express my feelings towards this fact with an age-old expression:

  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,797   +4,605

    Lets start a new game. Lets take one of these Google cars, place it in every major city, and see who the first wreckless driver is going to be. And then publish their name on googlereports.com (is there such an address? I don't even know. lol). After collecting 100 names, we can then have a lottery to win a Google car. Because you know they need one, if they are so irresponsible enough to crash into one.
  8. JamesandBennie

    JamesandBennie TS Booster Posts: 170   +14

    If everyone is taking self-driving vehicles, there might be a huge decrease in car accident.
    After all, machines are usually doing better in self-control than human. :D
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,931   +3,304

    Well, as you know I'm from a different era than many here. And while it's far from, "politically correct" these days, we used to dismiss the fair sex as, "women drivers".

    We also had a saying, "women drivers don't have accidents, they cause them". The last "near death experience" I had was when a women on a phone cut me off and left me hanging on the wrong side of a four lane in rush hour traffic, just as the light changed. I bailed myself out with a full stomp on the gas, and a careening right hand swerve back into my lane, and still had time to call her several pejoratives while flipping her the bird I passed.

    I also have a private sociological survey I take while I'm on the street in a vehicle, and another when I meet people. On the street, I allow people stuck in traffic and trying to make a left, to do so. Then I observe the sex, age, and race of the person, but most importantly, whether or not they wave thanks. Sorry to report, overweight African American females from 19 to 50, are the least forthcoming with any recognition. Perhaps my demographic affects the exchange.

    When I meet people, I ask them if they've been in an auto accident, and if so, whose fault was it. . About 90% say it was, "the other person's fault". (Including me, but in my case I was hit head on but a driver suffering an epileptic seizure, and I went as far off to the correct side of the street I was driving. on , but couldn't escape).

    The second anecdote is the most germane to this discussion. It's to Google's extreme convenience and eventual profit, that their cars are victims of the accidents, not the perpetrators. My point is, sometimes the causative factors of an accident are shared between the parties, and it could also be true the "Google self driving cars,don't have accidents, they cause them". Which could actually be true.

    Google can't accept any responsibility for causing accident from a strictly future business standpoint, as this tech is so controversial. Statistics can be made to say whatever is most convenient, and I'm sure this issue is no exception. And I'm absolutely certain Google is in it for Google's benefit, and nobody else.
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
    davislane1 likes this.
  10. bexwhitt

    bexwhitt TS Guru Posts: 384   +87

    I hate driving getting the car to drive it self would be awesome, though google maps does seem incapable of going the obvious way at times
  11. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,073   +164

    Maybe Google (or others) can invent 'auto legs ' so we don't have to walk. Then we can wrap ourselves in bubble wrap so nobody ever runs the slightest risk of getting hurt or experiencing anything that will run the risk of feeling bad or getting a boo-boo.
    I'm sure there is counseling available for those who are distraught hearing that there were 11 accidents involving the nanny cars.
    Davislane1 said:
    "As a member of the minority party that believes such technologies only facilitate the nurturing of enfeebled humans"
    ...silly man! but then you run the risk of actually being responsible for something and /or interacting with something.
    ....as god as my witness I will never have to endure being inconvenienced, risking anything or be offended again!
    Last edited: May 12, 2015
  12. Forg0t2

    Forg0t2 TS Booster Posts: 147   +25

    Insurance companies will find other markets to drain money from.
  13. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,518   +409

    Volcano insurance. Because everyone needs volcano insurance. Coming soon to Texans (and Austrailians) everywhere: avalanche insurance, for when your house gets buried by that inevitable cascading wall of snow!

    I'll admit I too believe the title is clickbait, but at the same time I am totally not surprised at the results, and was practically expecting it.
  14. 1-800-266-VULCASURE

    Yellowstone could blow at any moment. Are you protected?
  15. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,005   +1,396

    Well I'm not surprised that all the accidents were caused by *****s.

    My only issue with these cars are, how do they find new roads and places that just been built and aren't on Google map yet?
  16. I love driving,so much that even though I'm driving a piece of crap at the moment I still wouldn't want one of these.
    The one plus with these is that it should move speeding cops off the road or out of a job,so I can at least go 20km\h over the limit on a long straight road not having to worry about someone with a camera in the bushes.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2015
  17. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,518   +409

    Or it'll make you stick out like a sore thumb that much more, making it even easier to enforce fines just because they are bored?
  18. ^
    If every lazy person that can't multitask is using a self driving car and I am the only one with a normal car with a manual gearbox then the cops will lose their jobs in any case.
  19. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 973   +319

    I'm with you completely, driving is one of my favorite things to do. Some weekends I pick up my little nephew and we just drive all over the state just because. I don't think I could ever just let the car drive itself, I don't even like being in the passengers seat if I could be driving I just love it.
    BMfan likes this.

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