Google just started testing its own prototype autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads last month, after having tested them for months on private roads. Earlier, Google had been using Lexus RX450h Sports Utility Vehicles retrofitted with cameras, sensors and running its custom software for testing purposes on public roads in and around the company’s HQ in Mountain View, CA. It hasn’t even been one full month since the prototype vehicles started running on city streets, but they have already been involved in at least two minor accidents according to the report published by the internet giant. The company says both the incidents were low-speed, low-impact collisions and human drivers were at fault on both occasions.
One of the reported crashes happened on June 4th, when the Google vehicle was stationary at a red light. A vehicle came up from behind and collided with the prototype at a speed of under 1 mph, which obviously didn’t even scrape the paint on the fenders of either car. Even the second collision was mostly a non-issue, even though the colliding vehicle hit the prototype at a slightly higher rate of speed – 5 mph this time around. The incident took place on June 18th, and once again, the Google vehicle was stopped at an intersection when the minor fender bender happened. Again, no injuries were reported, even though the fenders on both vehicles did end up with a few battle scars at the end of it all; but that’s all there was to it according to the report.
This is the second such report the company has made public, since beginning to release monthly reports in May this year. The company says its vehicles have travelled more than 1 million miles in self-driving mode and almost twice as much overall, since it began testing them as part of its ambitious autonomous vehicles project, which it launched in 2009. There have been multiple reported accidents involving the automobiles, all of which were due to human errors, according to Google. In its latest report, the company reemphasizes on the safety factor by saying “Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident”.