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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : May 13, 2015

Google says some self-driving car accidents "unavoidable"

Following reports in the media that Google's self-driving car had been involved in several minor accidents, Google has released data and an explanation highlighting the car's success.

by Helen Leggatt

According to the Associated Press, during the 1.7 million miles Google's self-driving cars have travelled they have been involved in "11 minor accidents" which involved no injuries and only light damage.

In response, Google's Chris Urmson, director of the company's self-driving car program, has provided more detail. He claims that none of the 11 accidents were the fault of their car. Instead, one accident involved another car jumping a red light, two were side-swipes and the remainder were caused by other vehicles rear-ending the Google car.

In fact, these accidents are, says Urmson, improving the self-driving cars' algorithm, making it even safer. Its sensors and algorithms already mean the car is far more attentive and safer than a regular car controlled by a human, they claim.

"Even when our software and sensors can detect a sticky situation and take action earlier and faster than an alert human driver, sometimes we won't be able to overcome the realities of speed and distance; sometimes we'll get hit just waiting for a light to change," says Urmson in an article on Backchannel. "And that's important context for communities with self-driving cars on their streets; although we wish we could avoid all accidents, some will be unavoidable."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: automotive, Google, self-driving car, trends

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