TECH

Google's Driverless Cars Have Been Involved In 11 Accidents

12/05/2015 09:36 BST | Updated 12/05/2015 09:59 BST

Google's driverless cars have been involved in just 11 accidents over a distance of over 1.7 million miles travelled.

Director of Google’s self-driving car program Chris Urmson revealed the figure in a post on Medium in which he gives a progress report on Google's efforts to bring driverless vehicles to the masses.

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Urmson said: "Over the 6 years since we started the project, we’ve been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident."

The program Director goes on to argue that ironically, many of the accidents being caused on American roads are being caused by our gadgets.

"In any given daylight moment in America, there are 660,000 people behind the wheel who are checking their devices instead of watching the road."

He goes on to reveal that other offences include reading books while driving, and the team even spotted one person playing the trumpet.

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Arguing that humans can no longer compete with humans on this front Urmson reveals that Google's self-driving car sensors can now detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists from over a distance of two football fields.

At its core though, the post is about human error. People are not great at driving, Urmson argues, and almost all of their time has not been spent teaching the car to drive, but instead to escape, from us.

Whether it's cutting someone up, going the wrong way down a road or simply changing our minds at the last minute, these are the human elements that Google's car -- and indeed any driverless car -- will have to combat.