Google Self-Driving Car Involved in Two Minor Accidents in April, Not Its Fault

One of Google's self-driving Lexus RX prototypes 1 photo
Photo: Google
Google has an excellent habit of publishing monthly reports regarding the progress of their self-driving car project.
The latest one reveals that two minor accidents took place last month with the vehicles. Fortunately, nobody was harmed, and Google’s system was not to blame for the incidents.

The events described in the report (see PDF below) involve another vehicle hitting a stationary Lexus model with its side mirror, which did not even break after the “impact,” but was “slightly folded in.”

The other event reported by Google’s self-driving car project was a fender-bender between an unspecified car and a Google prototype.

It appears that the tech giant’s project car was stopped to yield to traffic approaching from the left, while the other vehicle impacted the car from behind at a speed of approximately nine mph (14 km/h). Both vehicles sustained minor damage, says Google’s report, but the occupants were unharmed.

As the company points out, its autonomous cars drive on busy city streets every day, so collisions are inevitable. Californian regulations concerning autonomous vehicles oblige Google to report every accident involving their vehicles to the DMV, even if similar crashes between human drivers are not reported.

The Mountain View tech giant quotes statistic data saying that 94% of the thousands of accidents on typical American streets happen due to human error, an element they want to eliminate, and 55% of those incidents never get reported.

At the end of last month, Google had 23 self-driving Lexus RX450h SUVs and 34 Google self-driving prototype vehicles testing on the roads. Their accumulated mileage in autonomous mode since 2009, when the project began, has reached 1,564,981 miles. The distance is equivalent to 2,518,592 kilometers.

Meanwhile, in manual mode, the fleet of Google self-driving cars racked up a total of over one million miles. We are talking about 1,085,768 miles, the equivalent of 1,747,374 kilometers.

Google estimates its self-driving cars traveled, on average, between 10,000 to 15,000 miles in the autonomous mode every week. That’s a lot of driving, especially considering the company’s rather small fleet of vehicles at the beginning of the project.
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 Download: Google Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report April 2016 (PDF)

About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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