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California Self-Driving Cars Involved in 4 Accidents in Last 8 Months

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/11/2015 Megan Stewart

Self-driving cars have been out on our roads since 2009, and while accidents have been few and far between, there have been four accidents reported in California since September 2014.

Three of the four accidents involved Google's Lexus SUVs, while the other involved one belonging to parts supplier Delphi Automotive. While the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) declined to comment, stating that collision reports were confidential, a person familiar with the four accident reports told the Associated Press that two of the four cars were in self-driving mode, and all accidents occurred below 10 mph.

Google Lexus FX450h autonomous vehicle 1© Provided by MotorTrend Google Lexus FX450h autonomous vehicle 1

The fault in these accidents hasn't been released to the public, and some believe that information should be made available, as even the developers of the self-driving technology have stated that it isn't perfect. Privacy project director of the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog told AP that because the ultimate goal with the self-driving technology is a car with no steering wheel or pedals that it's "even more important that the details of any accidents be made public--so people know what the heck's going on."

While Google would not speak about its three recent accidents, Delphi was more forthcoming. Spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said that its 2014 Audi SQ5 was broadsided when waiting to make a left turn. Damage was moderate, and the company noted that the car was not in self-driving mode. However, Google reported in a written statement that since September, its cars have had "a handful of minor fender-benders, light damage, no injuries, so far caused by human error and inattention," while driving on the streets near its headquarters in Mountain View.

Although no serious damage or injuries occurred due to these accidents, incidents involving autonomous cars will likely continue to be scrutinized until the technology can prove itself on public roads.

Source: Associated Press via SF Gate

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