Last month the Associated Press reported on a number of road accidents involving self-driving cars, which in turn prompted Google to explain in detail the various bumps and crashes its fleet has been involved in. Now the tech giant has gone one step further, setting up a dedicated website to report all of the scrapes its autonomous vehicles get into.
The first report for May 2015 is up and available to view in PDF form, and monthly updates will appear from now on. “We’ve made a lot of progress with our self-driving technology over the past six years, and we’re still learning,” explains Google. “Every day we head out onto public streets so we can keep challenging and refining our software. Here’s a roundup of our latest activity.”
The move seems to have been at least partly prompted by the 13th incident involving a Google-powered self-driving car on the roads of Mountain View — as with all of the previous cases, Google’s vehicle wasn’t at fault. “We just got rear-ended again yesterday while stopped at a stoplight in Mountain View,” Jacquelyn Miller, a Google spokeswoman, wrote in a statement.
“That’s two incidents just in the last week where a driver rear-ended us while we were completely stopped at a light!” she added. “So that brings the tally to 13 minor fender-benders in more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving — and still, not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.”
The new monthly reports also meet head-on the accusations that Google isn’t being transparent enough about the testing of its autonomous fleet of automobiles. The documents are also going to include examples of situations the cars encounter on the roads and how they’re dealt with: May’s report features a scenario involving an emergency vehicle.
Google knows that the more information it makes public, the more readily we’ll all be to switch to self-driving cars when the time comes.
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