Google's driverless car involved in 11 incidents
But company claims that none were caused by its autonomous vehicles
Google's self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents since the project began six years ago, the company admitted yesterday.
However, Google maintained that none of the incidents were the result of errors to do with its driverless car. In a blog post, Chris Urmson, director of the company's self-driving car programme, claimed that each incident was human-related, and caused by other road users.
"We've been involved in 11 minor accidents... with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident," he wrote.
"If you spend enough time on the road, accidents will happen whether you're in a car or a self-driving car."
Urmson said that, so far, Google had logged over 1.7m miles of autonomous driving, and that of the incidents that the company had seen, only light damage had been done. He added that no-one had been injured in these incidents.
Urmson also broke down which incidents were most common. He said that the Google driverless cars had been rear-ended seven times, mainly at traffic lights, but also on the freeway. He also said that the autonomous vehicles had been "side-swiped" a couple of times, as well as hit by a car rolling through a stop sign.
Urmson said that Google was learning from these experiences - he claimed that Google's driverless car project had found out much about human driving habits, and that this information was being fed into the programme to make it safer.
"These experiences (and countless others) have only reinforced for us the challenges we all face on our roads today," he wrote.
"We'll continue to drive thousands of miles so we can all better understand the all too common incidents that cause many of us to dislike day to day driving - and we'll continue to work hard on developing a self-driving car that can shoulder this burden for us."