Several Self-Driving Cars Have Gotten into Accidents

Image via Flickr by Photographing Travis

Self-driving cars could revolutionize the automobile industry. The idea is that they take the element of human error out of driving. However, that’s not what tests are showing on the roads of California. Four self-driving cars have gotten into accidents since permits were issued for them to be on public roads back in September.

Two of the accidents happened while there was a person assisting behind the wheel. However, the other two accidents happened while the cars were entirely driving autonomously. Three of the accidents happened in Lexus SUVs from Google Inc. The other accident was in a Delphi automotive test vehicle. Both Google and Delphi claim that their cars were not at fault in any of the accidents, but others remain skeptical. The State Department of Motor Vehicles in California declined to comment about fault in the accidents, stating that collision reports are confidential under California law.

Safety is the biggest selling point for self-driving cars. Google plans to create a car that ultimately has no steering wheel or pedals so that passengers don’t have to do anything. The fact that some of their cars have gotten into accidents hurts their case somewhat. There are only 50 test autonomous vehicles on the roads in California – 4 out of 50 getting into accidents is a high percentage. However, the technology is still fairly new and further testing and modifications are expected to eliminate the problems or make the incident far fewer.

Google defended itself saying, “Over the 6 years since we started the project, we’ve been involved in 11 minor accidents during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.” Statistics show that all cars on the road long enough get into an incident.

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