Google self-driving cars had two accidents in June, both caused by non-Google humans

In both incidents, a self-driving test car was rear-ended at a stop light. No injuries occurred.

Google self driving
Martyn Williams

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Google’s self-driving cars were involved in two accidents on the roads of Mountain View, California, during June, but humans driving the other vehicles were at fault in both cases.

No injuries were reported in either incident, Google said in its monthly report that lists accidents involving its fleet of autonomous cars. Both collisions involved test cars from Google’s fleet of Lexus sport utility vehicles, which are equipped with autonomous driving technology. 

In one accident, a car traveling around 5 miles per hour hit the rear bumper of a Google Lexus that had stopped at a red light. Both cars ended up with small scrapes on their bumpers.

The second incident also occurred when a Google car was stopped at a red light and was hit from behind. That offending car was moving at less than 1 mile per hour, and neither vehicle was damaged.

In May, Google began issuing monthly reports on accidents involving its autonomous cars. The state of California also requires a report to be filed when a self-driving vehicle is involved in a collision.

According to June’s report, Google has 23 Lexus vehicles and two of its 25 prototype cars self-driving around Mountain View, where the company is based. The prototype cars, a completely unique design introduced last year, just started driving on public streets last month. In the coming months, more prototype cars will hit the road, the company said.

Self-driving cars have spotless records so far

With 48 vehicles, Google has the largest fleet of self-driving cars in California. However, the search giant isn’t the only company exploring autonomous driving. Electric-vehicle maker Tesla operates a fleet of 12 driverless vehicles in California, while car component manufacturer Delphi's developing sensors and software for self-driving systems at its own lab in Mountain View. 

It was a close encounter with a Delphi test car that made headlines most recently, when a Google self-driving test car and a Delphi self-driving test car happened to be driving near one another at the same, and both tried to move into the same lane. The cars avoided each other successfully, but the original Reuters report characterized the incident as a near-collision, where the Google car "cut off" the Delphi car. Google and Delphi both denied that portrayal, but Reuters stood by its story. 

Google claims its self-driving technology hasn’t been at fault in any of the collisions involving its cars so far. Instead, drivers in other cars or humans who were driving the Google vehicle have been to blame. Since Google began testing self-driving vehicles in 2009, its cars have been involved in 14 “minor” accidents, said the company.

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