Google Self-Driving Cars: 11 Crashes So Far

Posted on May 18 2015 - 2:41am
RATING
    Chris Urmson

    Image Courtesy of TED Conference

    Google’s Self-Driving Cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents, according to Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program. The self-driving cars have been tested for six years now, with a fleet of more than 20 self-driving their way across a million miles.

    The self-driving cars average about 10,000 miles of self-driving per week. Although the accidents are minor, mostly crashes from humans driving into the back of the Google’s, it still makes a solid evidence of the challenges driverless cars face and America’s driving habits.

    Measuring Progress and Road Safety

    Behind Google’s concept is good intention: to reduce accident rates and focus on road safety. More than 30,000 people die on America’s roads every year. In defense of Google and the crashes, the important thing to understand in judging the car’s safety performance is the typical activity on suburban streets.

    Avoiding accidents means raising awareness and figuring out how one can expect to get hit by other drivers. Google focuses on the former. The self-driving cars have sensors and software that are able to detect a possibly sticky situation and take action earlier.

    In more ways than one, the cars are faster and more alert than a human driver. With this, however, comes the risk of inability to overcome the reality of speed and distance or getting hit from behind while waiting for the light to change. These are all elements crucial to understanding how a self-driving car survives out on the streets.

    Driving Patterns and Human Errors

    Urmson, director of the self-driving program, identifies the most common accidents their cars are likely to experience are only typical to day to day street driving. While the damages are minor and there are no injuries, these incidents account for 55% of all road crashes and accidents.

    Majority of these accidents are not reported, mainly because they are not that big of a deal. Still, it’s important to know what’s actually going on out on the streets. Nobody has time for this, but Google’s self-driving cars do. It’s what they have been doing since their first test drive.

    Of the many miles the cars have self-driven through, it reports to us the patterns it has seen. The self-driving cars got into a rear-end crash seven times and the rest ranged from being side-swiped and hit by a car rolling through a stop sign. All these go back to human error, which causes 94% of road accidents.