US senator calls for isolated smart-vehicle tests after Google-car injuries

Comments made at opening of auto-industry-sponsored test track, following Google’s first-ever smart-car injuries

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US senator calls for isolated smart-vehicle tests after Google-car injuries Since 2009 Google’s smart vehicles have covered over 1m miles in autonomous mode, but have been involved in only 14 accidents up to the end of June 2015. (Getty Images)
By  Stephen McBride Published  July 21, 2015

A US senator responsible for multiple smart-car laws has said it would be preferable to test self-driving vehicles on isolated test tracks rather than public roads, following Google’s first accident involving injuries in more than 1m miles of autonomous driving.

GALLERY: Google’s self-driving vehicles

Democratic Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, who serves on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, made the comments at the opening of the University of Michigan's Mcity track yesterday. The Senator gave an interview in which he said, "it's better to start in a closed facility" such as the 32-acre Mcity, "where companies can conduct more extreme tests". Mcity’s partners include auto-industry heavyweights such as Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

GALLERY: Google’s self-driving vehicles

Google issued its first accident report last month on its six-year self-driving-vehicle project, logging all incidents to the end of May 2015. Since 2009 the company’s smart vehicles had covered over 1m miles in autonomous mode, but had been involved in only 12 accidents, all minor, each caused by human error, and all but one attributed to third-party fault.

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