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Google Says “Other Factors” Responsible for Self-Driving Motor Vehicle Accidents

Last week, Google released information about the dozen accidents thus far involving the self-driving vehicles that it is developing and marketing. The company said it was keeping its promise to provide monthly reports on performance and safety issues. According to the press release, all of the crashes involving Google’s vehicles have been “minor,” and no personal injuries have been reported.

Though the company has continually insisted that none of the collisions have resulted from problems with the self-driving technology, it was reported that at least one accident involved a self-driving car that ran into the back of another car in traffic. According to Google, though, that car was actually being operated by a staffer at the time of the accident. The report issued last week found that:

Half of the accidents occurred while the car was in autonomous mode and half while being operated by a Google employee
Ten of the twelve accidents occurred in Mountain View
At least one accident occurred on a highway near San Jose, with the self-driving vehicle operating at a speed of more than 60 miles per hour

Sources say that the California DMV has licensed 48 self-driving vehicles since September of 2014, and that four of them have been involved in accidents. Of the 48 licensed vehicles, 23 are owned by Google and 12 are owned by Tesla motors. Under current California rules, though a self-driving vehicle may be on the road in autonomous mode, a licensed operator must still be in the driver’s seat.

Currently, there are four states with specific laws allowing self-driving vehicles—Michigan, Nevada, Florida and California. However, no other state has a specific ban, so the vehicles may be operated anywhere.
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