Self-driv­ing car has 13 crashes

Waitaki Herald - - CLASSIFIED -

Google will start to is­sue monthly re­ports on its self-driv­ing cars, part of a push to dis­close more in­for­ma­tion about the tech­nol­ogy, fol­low­ing a sec­ond ac­ci­dent for one of the ve­hi­cles in less than a week.

The new re­ports sum­marise the pro­ject’s ac­tiv­ity, data points and any in­ci­dents in­volv­ing the cars, Google said. An au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle was rear-ended at a stop­light in Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, last Thurs­day.

The pre­vi­ous week­end another unit was hit in the same city. There have been 13 ac­ci­dents since the pro­ject be­gan six years ago, but none has been the fault of the ve­hi­cle it­self, the com­pany said.

‘‘We’ve made a lot of progress with our self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy over the past six years, and we’re still learn­ing,’’ the com­pany said in its re­port for May, which in­cludes data from last week.

‘‘Ev­ery day we head out onto public streets so we can keep chal­leng­ing and re­fin­ing our soft­ware.’’

Google is mak­ing its case for driver­less cars with more trans­parency amid ques­tions about the progress of the pro­gramme, which is part of the com­pany’s X re­search lab.

The com­pany also is us­ing the web­site to ex­plain how the tech­nol­ogy works, gather in­for­ma­tion and give up­dates, Google said. The in­for­ma­tion hub makes the ar­gu­ment that ro­botic cars could help ad­dress the deaths caused by hu­man- driven ve­hi­cles to­day.

As part of the re­ports, Google plans to give ex­am­ples of sit­u­a­tions en­coun­tered.

The latest sub­mis­sion in­cludes a photo of its self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle stopped at a light and wait­ing af­ter it turned green be­cause an am­bu­lance was ap­proach­ing the in­ter­sec­tion.

‘‘I’m very proud of the record of our cars,’’ co-founder Sergey Brin said. ‘‘Our goal is to beat hu­man driv­ers.’’

One share­holder at last week’s an­nual share­hold­ers’ meet­ing, John Simp­son, had some hard ques­tions about the self-driv­ing car pro­gramme.

Simp­son, 67, works for a non­profit called Con­sumer Watchdog, where he di­rects its Pri­vacy Pro­ject.

He asked Google if it would pledge not to use any cus­tomer data it gath­ers from driver­less cars for mar­ket­ing pur­poses. David Drum­mond, the com­pany’s gen­eral coun­sel, ducked the ques­tion, say­ing it was too early to make any such pledge.

Simp­son also asked Google to re­lease the ac­ci­dent re­ports.

Dur­ing the six years Google has been work­ing on self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy, its cars have been taught to un­der­stand how to tra­verse the roads.

With their com­bi­na­tion of ro­bot­ics, sen­sors and com­put­ing power, they know how to an­tic­i­pate all prob­lems driv­ers face.

Us­ing retro­fit­ted Lexuses, Google has driven 1 mil­lion miles au­tonomously.

More re­cently, it has built sev­eral dozen small cars with­out steer­ing, wheels and brakes and is ready to test them in the streets of Moun­tain View.

Google’s self-driv­ing car is all set to go it alone on Cal­i­for­nia’s roads.

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