Google today announced that in June its Lexus autonomous sport-utility vehicles got into two accidents. In both cases, the incidents can be chalked up to human error.
Google’s self-driving cars have now been involved in a total of 14 “minor accidents” in 1.8 million miles’ worth of autonomous and manual driving, the company said in the second ever monthly report from its self-driving car project.
The two new accident reports, which were submitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, are amusing — but they suggest that self-driving cars can be less likely to cause accidents than people who are behind the wheel:
June 4, 2015: A Google Lexus model autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) was traveling westbound on California St. in Mountain View in autonomous mode and was stopped behind traffic at a red light at the intersection of California St. and Rengstorff Ave. A vehicle approaching from behind collided with the rear bumper of the Google AV. The Google AV was stopped for approximately 17 seconds prior to the collision. The approximate speed of the other vehicle at the time of impact was <1 mph. There were no injuries reported at the scene by either party. The Google AV sustained no damage and there was no visible damage to the other vehicle.
June 18, 2015: A Google Lexus model autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) was traveling northbound on California St. in Mountain View in autonomous mode and was stopped at a red light in the straight-only lane at the intersection of California St. and Bryant St. The lane to the left of the Google AV was a left-turn-only lane. The vehicle waiting immediately behind the Google AV in the straight-only lane began to move forward when the green arrow left turn signal appeared (despite the signal for the straight-only lane remaining red) and collided with the rear bumper of the Google AV. The Google AV had been stopped for about 11 seconds at the time of impact. The other vehicle was traveling about 5 mph at the time of impact. There were no injuries reported at the scene by either party. The Google AV sustained minor damage (scrapes) to its rear bumper. The other vehicle sustained minor damage (scrapes) to its front bumper.
Read the full report for the month of June here (PDF).
In May, Google’s fleet of self-driving vehicles were involved in one accident, while in April there were two accidents, according to the first report (PDF) Google released on its self-driving car project.