Self-driving cars may be the future, but they’re here today, driving on public roads. That’s why, in an important turn of events, California officials have finally agreed to release reports regarding the accidents that these self-driving autos have been in.
In the last few months we’ve started to learn how these new-fangled cars are doing on our roads. Google, Delphi, German auto makers and many other companies are currently testing self-driving cars around the world, but so far only Google has publicly disclosed the accidents its cars have been in.
According to the company, and now corroborated in part by California’s DMV, Google’s cars have only been in eight accidents, despite driving more than 1.5 million miles and using 23 prototypes. And of those, none were apparently the car’s fault and none had any injuries that needed medical treatment. In case you're into that sort of thing, you can read Google's account of each of those crashes here.
That being said Google’s recent accidents, four over the past 100,000 miles, are seemingly higher than the national average – though the company argues that’s only due to under-reporting of “fender benders”.
At the end of the day, what’s really important in this process is that companies bring transparency to their activities. Even these reports were only made public after consumer watchdogs put public pressure on Google and the DMV. With more and more tests going on around the world, and everybody seemingly agreeing that these cars are the future, the public needs to know how safe they are, and what their track record on public roads is.