Google’s self-driving cars had 13 near-misses in which the vehicle would have crashed without intervention from their human test drivers. So far the cars have not caused a single accident on public roads, but new figures reveal that there have been a number of close calls. Between September 2014 and November 2015 there were 272 “failures” reported and 13 incidents in which the cars came close to crashing. The 272 failures reported refer to the car detecting technology failures, and notifying the driver to take control of the car.
As we continue to develop and refine the self-driving software, we are seeing fewer disengagements despite more miles driven.
The report, covering the period Sept. 24, 2014, when Google began testing on roads of Palo Alto, California, to Nov. 30, 2015, found disengagements occurred about every 785 miles in the fourth quarter of 2014. A year later, that had expanded to 5,318 miles between episodes. California offers permits for the testing of self-driving cars on public roads. However one of the conditions is that firms report every “disengagement” - moments in which a human driver had to take control of the vehicle for safety reasons. Google is the first company to share its data publicly, despite lobbying hard against the regulation.