Google's Self-Driving PriusEnlarge Photo
Silly humans, so accident prone.
To comply with a California law requiring companies to disclose the number of accidents its autonomous cars are involved in, Google released the shunt stats for its self-driving test fleet, and the results are impressive. And by impressive, we mean perfect. Because while there were 11 instances where the cars wound up in collisions, as The Car Connection reported, the self-driving testbeds were never to blame.
Most of the accidents—seven, to be exact—involved the cars being rear ended, and at least one was the result of another vehicle running a red light. The other incidents, meanwhile, were with a human driver in control of the vehicle. Given the fact that Google's program has covered approximately a million miles since it began in 2009, the numbers are more than encouraging.
Of course, even with that stellar track record, it will be quite some time before buyers will be able to hop into their vehicles, push a button, and be chauffeured home by their vehicles. Because while the Golden State—along with several others—does have laws which govern the operation of autonomous cars, the laws, like the technology they're seeking to regulate, are still in a primordial stage.
Numerous hurdles—not the least of which being the placement of blame when the eventual accident occurs—remain in the path toward total vehicle autonomy, but revelations like this make it clear that the technology isn't an "if" but a "when." For more on Google's autonomous car developments, click here for our previous post.