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Self Driving Cars Have Accidents In California

By raccars Published

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With the safety of self driving cars already a subject of contention, the news that four autonomous vehicles have been involved in accidents in California in the last nine months, will not do supporters of the technology any favours. There are 48 self-driving vehicles operational in California, and of the four crash incidents, three were Google vehicles and the other was operated by Audi.

Autonomous vehicles are designed to be safer than human driven cars by eliminating the most common cause of accidents: human error. Governments in the UK and US are already developing policy to allow their use on public roads. California has 48 self driving models undergoing the testing process since permits for trials were granted last September.

According to reports, two of the four accidents in question occurred while the cars were in fact under human control rather than self driving, and in the other two cases, reports suggest that the technology was not the cause of the accidents. The three Google vehicles involved were all Lexus SUVs and the Audi vehicle involved was being used by Delphi Automotive, a parts supplier. According to both Delphi and Google, the incidents in question were minor and the cars were not at fault.

Accidents involving cars with permits to trial self driving technology must by law be reported to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) in the US. The DMV has not released any details of the incidents but an industry insider has claimed that all the accidents happened at speeds lower than 10mph.

The accident involving an Audi SQ5 apparently occurred last October, when it was broadsided by another vehicle, while waiting to turn left at a junction. There was minor damage to the front of the Audi, which was under human control at the time.

Google has refused to discuss details of the accidents involving three of its 23 Lexus SUVs. In the past, the company has admitted testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads without state permissions, in which time it claims three accidents occurred. The company has completed over a hundred thousand miles in autonomous driving trials with very few problems. However, the company's particular technology has received criticism because, unlike other self driving systems, it is designed without a steering wheel or pedals, which could allow a human driver to intervene.

California granted testing permits to five other companies, all of which say trials have been accident free.

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