Google re­leases more de­tails on self-driv­ing car ac­ci­dents

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Google is dis­clos­ing more de­tails about the 12 ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing its self-driv­ing cars so far as part of a com­mit­ment to pro­vide monthly up­dates about the safety and per­for­mance of the ve­hi­cles.

The sum­mary re­leased Fri­day de­scribed all of the col­li­sions as mi­nor, say­ing no in­juries were re­ported. As it has been do­ing for sev­eral weeks, Google said that the self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy was not to blame for any of the ac­ci­dents. In one case, how­ever, an em­ployee used the self-driv­ing car to run an er­rand and rear-ended an­other car that was stopped in traf­fic. Google had pre­vi­ously dis­closed that ac­ci­dent, which hap­pened in Au­gust 2011.

Google’s break­down of the ac­ci­dents came just two days af­ter com­pany co-founder Sergey Brin told share­hold­ers that the com­pany had al­ready dis­closed most of the per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion about the crashes.

Con­sumer Watch­dog, a group that has been a long­time Google critic, has been push­ing the Moun­tain View, Cal­i­for­nia, com­pany to re­lease all of the ac­ci­dent re­ports filed with the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles and other law en­force­ment agen­cies. Dis- sat­is­fied with Google’s ac­count­ing, Con­sumer Watch­dog on Fri­day re­newed its call for the com­pany to re­lease the of­fi­cial ac­ci­dent re­ports.

The As­so­ci­ated Press has asked Google and the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles for the re­ports. Both have re­fused, cit­ing pri­vacy con­cerns.

While the lat­est dis­clo­sures fell short of pro­vid­ing the of­fi­cial ac­ci­dent re­ports, they did give pre­vi­ously un­re­leased in­for­ma­tion on the lo­ca­tions and dates and cir­cum­stances of the 12 ac­ci­dents.

Google Inc. started testing the cars in 2009, and the first ac­ci­dent was in May 2010.

The com­pany says six of the ac­ci­dents hap­pened while the car was in au­ton­o­mous driv­ing mode. The other six hap­pened while staffers were driv­ing, in­clud­ing one in­ci­dent where the car was hit by an­other driver who rolled through a stop sign. Google says the self­driv­ing car au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plied the brakes when it de­tected the other ve­hi­cle, and Google’s driver took man­ual con­trol once the brakes were ap­plied. The Google ve­hi­cle sus­tained some dam­age.

All but two of the ac­ci­dents hap­pened in Google’s home­town of Moun­tain View, where the com­pany plans to begin testing its lat­est self-driv­ing car — a pod-like ve­hi­cle — this sum­mer.

While sev­eral of the ac­ci­dents hap­pened at low speeds or while the car was stopped, in one case a Google ve­hi­cle was driv­ing 63 miles per hour on a high­way in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia, when an­other ve­hi­cle veered into its side.

Google’s cars have been in­volved in four ac­ci­dents so far this year, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany. It says the cars travel about 10,000 miles a week on public streets. The ve­hi­cles have driven about one mil­lion miles in au­ton­o­mous mode and Google’s driv­ers have been in con­trol for 800,000 ad­di­tional miles.

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