Human error responsible for half of Google self-driving car accidents

A Google self-driving car - image courtesy of Google

Google has released details on the 12 accidents involving its self-driving cars during the past six years of testing.

The summary of the accidents was released last week as part of Google’s Self-Driving Car Project Monthly Report – May 2015.

The report described the 12 accidents as minor, with Google stating that not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident in over 1.8m million miles of autonomous and manual driving combined.

More accidents were caused when Google employees were in control of the cars than when the cars were autonomously driving. One accident Google had previously disclosed occurred in August 2011 when an employee used the self-driving car to run an errand and rear-ended another car that was stopped in traffic, an .

Google’s breakdown of the accidents came just two days after company co-founder Sergey Brin told shareholders that the company had already disclosed most of the pertinent information about the crashes.

Long-time Google critic Consumer Watchdog had been pushing the company to release all of the official accident reports filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and other law enforcement agencies, as it was dissatisfied with Googles accounts of its own accidents.

The Associated Press has also asked Google and the California Department of Motor Vehicles for the accident reports, but both refused due to privacy concerns.

Humans crashed the Google self-driving car

Six of the accidents featured in Google’s monthly report occurred while the car was in autonomous driving mode, while the other six happened while staff members were driving.

No injuries were reported in any of the accidents over the six year period.

All but two of the accidents happened in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, with most of them occurring at low speeds.

Google reported that its self-driving cars were averaging 10,000 autonomous miles per week on public streets and four accidents have occurred so far this year.