Google Defends Self-driving Cars Revealing Accident Numbers

Google Defends Self-driving Cars Revealing Accident Numbers


Google is on the forefront of self-driving cars. A report about accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars has triggered a response from Google.

Google Self-driving cars having been involved in accidents discloses Chris Ursom, director of Google’s self-driving car program. Over the 6 years since Google started the self-driving car project, there have been 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries). Google self-driving cars accumulated 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with Google’s safety drivers behind the wheel. Ursom says that not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident. Google operates 20 self-driving cars.

There is certainly no safety problem with the Google cars. Around 33,000 people die in car accidents each year in America. Self-driving cars might be the breakthrough in cutting this extreme death toll. Interestingly the Google self-driving car project actually reveals new insights into avoiding car accidents. 

Human drivers can learn a thing or two from the Google car robot. Intersections are one of the most dangerous places on the streets. Over the last several years, 21% of the fatalities and about 50% of the serious injuries on U.S. This is why the Google cars are programmed to pause briefly after a light turns green before proceeding into the intersection. This is when often someone will barrel impatiently or distractedly through the intersection. I know that from my own experience and already adopted this safety measure. I also actual verify visually if a car is crossing.


Turns are another dangerous spot. Google sees a lot of drivers turning onto, and then driving on, the wrong side of the road a lot — particularly at night, it’s common for people to overshoot or undershoot the median.

Learning from the Self-driving cars apparently can make human drivers better and safer drivers.

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