The future of transportation and travel is virtually limitless with the introduction of innovative technologies like the Google self driving car. In September of last year, the idea drew closer to a reality when the state of California began issuing permits to companies to start testing self-driving cars on public roads. Since then, however, four of roughly 50 or so vehicles have gotten into accidents.
According to the Associated Press, two of the accidents occurred when the cars in control, driving less than 10 mph at the time. In the other two incidences, humans were behind the steering wheel. Of the self-driving cars involved, three of the four were from Google Inc., and one from Delphi Automotive. Both companies have stated that the accidents were minor and that their self-driving cars are not at fault.
At the moment, the biggest cause of concern regards the lack of information that is currently shared with the public. Because California law keeps collision reports confidential, both companies have chosen to withhold the details of the incidences regarding their self-driving cars.
Currently, five other companies have testing permits and 48 self-driving cars are licensed to test on public roads. Because the technology is imperfect, however, the public states that they should have the information to monitor the “rollout of the technology.”
The Promise of Safety From The Google Self Driving Car?
Ironically enough, the selling point for self-driving cars is the promise of safety – mainly because they are fitted with cameras, radars and laser sensors to analyze their surroundings. The Google self-driving car, for example, can be programmed to adjust its actions – honk, flash its lights, etc. – based on various circumstances.
At the moment, Google Inc. has 23 Lexus SUVs. The recent accidents, however, are not the company’s first. Last year, the leader of the Google self-driving car program acknowledged three others, although the company mentioned in a written statement that the cars had “a handful of minor fender-benders, light damage, no injuries, so far caused by human error and inattention.”
Yet, regardless of these accidents, there is no question that the Google self driving car – and autonomous driving in general – can be the key for farther travel and highly efficient transportation. Whether they will make the roads safer is still a question that needs to be answered.
Check out a test drive of the Google self driving car here.