It has come to light through an investigation conducted by the Associated Press that four of the 48 self-driving cars on California’s roads have been involved in four accidents since September 2014. In a recent article published on Quartz.com, two of the accidents occurred while the self-driving vehicle was driving, and the other two accidents occurred while the human safety driver was in control. The two companies responsible for the self-driving vehicles were Google and Delphi. Google’s Director of self-driving program, Chris Urmson, revealed that the tech giant’s fleet has experienced 11 minor accidents in 1.7 million miles in six years since the driverless car program began.
The AP reported that the national rate for reported “property damage only crashes” is about 0.3 per 100,000 miles driven, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Administration. If one uses this statistic and compares Google’s crashes in about 140,000 miles the crash rate seems high.
The self-driving car program is required to submit data to the California Department of Motor Vehicles; however this information has not been readily released to the public based on the state’s Vehicle Code which requires accident reports concerning traffic injuries or fatalities to remain confidential.
Many believe that as a matter of public policy the government does not want to reveal to much information since they do not want these tech companies to be put under a microscope while this program is still in its testing phase.
The self-driving car program has yet too prove to be as flexible and responsive as humans on the road in dealing with unpredictable situations on the road.