Google to release monthly self-driving car crash reports

In an update to the potentially troubling report that Google’s self-driving car prototypes have been in at least 11 car accidents, the company has promised not to keep quiet about such incidents in the future. However, critics say that Google’s new policy still will not inform the public sufficiently about possible defects in the automated driving system.

As we discussed in our May 13 post, Google announced that its test vehicles have been involved in 11 crashes since it began putting prototypes on the roads in 2009. Since then, a 12th accident has been reported, according to Autoblog.

The company said that all of the accidents were minor, and contended that the self-driving technology was not to blame in any of the incidents. They said human error caused all of them, such as a Google driver who rear-ended somebody while in manual mode.

One criticism that came out of the announcement was that Google had not reported these collisions before now. In response, Google says it will begin releasing monthly reports of car accidents involving its vehicles. The reports will include which type of self-driving vehicle was involved, where the crash happened and whether the car was in autonomous or manual mode.

However, Google will not release the special forms used in California to report self-driving car accidents, or the regular auto accident report. The privacy director for Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit that had been pushing for full transparency from Google, said that the monthly reports will require consumers to take the company’s word for what happened.