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Google Releases Report On Autonomous Vehicle Accidents 74

An anonymous reader writes: Back in May, a report from the Associated Press pieced together information on car accidents that involved autonomous vehicles. Google, the company testing the most self-driving cars on public roads right now, said the automation technology was not at fault in any of the accidents. However, they took criticism for declining to provide any detail. Now, they've changed that stance, releasing specifics on all of the accidents involving their autonomous cars. They set up a new website for releasing monthly reports. According to their first report (PDF), there have been 12 accidents since 2010. The vast majority of them involved another car rear-ending the Google car while waiting at a stop sign/light. There was one incident where another car rolled a stop sign, one in which another car veered into the AV's lane, and one incident where a Google employee driving the car in manual mode rear-ended another car. None of the accidents resulted in an injury.
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Google Releases Report On Autonomous Vehicle Accidents

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    All the accidents... Were causing by HUMANS and not by the machine.
    Can't wait until we get rid of the stupid monkeys behind the wheel...

    • That sounds like a fun life. We'd all eat better if we just took specially designed intravenous tubes of food also.
      • by mrsquid0 ( 1335303 ) on Friday June 05, 2015 @06:35PM (#49852679) Homepage

        Most driving is not fun. It is tedious and frustrating. How many people can honestly say that they enjoy their daily commute or look forward to driving Jr to and from hockey practice? If all driving was like traveling the Sea to Sky Highway on a light traffic day then self-driving cars would be removing something fun from life. But, in the real world, self-driving cars will alleviate one of the most boring tasks that many people face.

      • That makes no sense at all. Eating is rarely stressful, tedious, or dangerous to other people, and commuting is rarely pleasurable. Where's the connection you're unsuccessfully attempting to make?

        • You're right. No obesity and health related issues at all in the world that kill far more people than driving.
        • I thought the point was very clear and succinct. OP says
          "Can't wait until we get rid of the stupid monkeys behind the wheel..."

          Reply is that, just like driving, nobody REALLY wants that because oftentimes (not always, OBVIOUSLY) driving is not an act of utility, but a thing of passion and pleasure, just like eating. Or motorcycle riding. Or shooting firearms. Or shooting fireworks.

          I'm confused why you couldn't follow...
          • Reply is that, just like driving, nobody REALLY wants that because oftentimes (not always, OBVIOUSLY) driving is not an act of utility, but a thing of passion and pleasure, just like eating. Or motorcycle riding. Or shooting firearms. Or shooting fireworks.

            I would venture to say that 90%+ of miles driven in a given day are the "daily grind" type not the pleasure type.
            If we're talking about driving within 25 miles of a major city then we are approaching 100%.
            Sure, some people enjoy driving out in the country on backroads or some scenic road but that's a very small percentage.
            If/When we get self-driving cars then non-self driving cars will probably go the same way as horses. They become
            a hobby that people do on occasion for fun but rarely for practical purpose

        • So, if you eat during your commute, it's a balanced diet, neither tedious or pleasurable.

          • So, if you eat during your commute, it's a balanced diet, neither tedious or pleasurable.

            And shares some of the aforementioned eating-related danger with other people (unless you have an autonomous car).

      • "It's not as much fun" is a pretty tepid argument against self-driving cars. "Of course they'll be better in every other way. But think of the fun!" Just as there are places you can go ride horses today, there will be places where you can go drive a car.
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      All the accidents... Were causing by HUMANS and not by the machine.

      That's what they say whenever a plane crashes because the autopilot doesn't know what to do and gives control back to the pilots, who fly it into the ground as they try to figure out what the heck is going on.

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        That was my attitude which is why it is a clever move by Google to release accident reports. Now we can only cry foul if they miss a report.

        Caveat - any time their cars crash and it's not some other drivers fault, what's from stopping them from claiming the car was being driven by a human and not autonomously? If there isn't video evidence of the human driving then I'll take what they say with a pinch of salt. Why would they even allow humans to drive the autonomous cars other than for extreme conditions li

    • It does confirm my suspicions that at least some of the accidents occurred immediately after control was switched to the patsy.

    • All the accidents... Were causing by HUMANS and not by the machine. Can't wait until we get rid of the stupid monkeys behind the wheel...

      Even thought the fault of the accidents was another driver (or sometimes the google driver), the statistics still result that the autonomously driven cars were about 3 or 4 times more likely to be involved in an accident than the average driver. So basically, they are not as good at avoiding being in an accident as the average human driver. Driving id not just about not hitting people. It is also about avoiding the other drivers who are out to get you.

      • Yes, and if you read the reports, I noticed a few where technically the autonomous car may not have been "at fault" (legally) but the car did something that normal drivers would not expect and this resulted in the accident.

        - December 2012: rear-ended at approx. 20-25 mph while driving past a disabled vehicle and emergency vehicles, which were stationary on the shoulder. In other words, the road was clear, but there were some emergency vehicles on the shoulder, so the car needlessly slowed down to a ridiculo

        • 1 - slowing down to go past people working on the road isn't just a courtesy thing, it's a safety thing- you don't know what they're going to do.

          2. I've been edging out and then seen traffic and stopped, and I've been following people who've done the same. Just because you think you can make it doesn't mean the person in front does, so act accordingly.

          3. You'll find that most people slow when they see an impending collision - reducing the speed tends to be the best option. How can you can blame anyone for a

          • You'll find that most people slow when they see an impending collision - reducing the speed tends to be the best option.

            That's a fallacy that has caused many accidents already. I took an advanced driving course a few years ago, and they showed us some videos of the stupid things people do, just to show that no matter how good you are, you always have to assume other drivers are likely to be idiots.

            In one of those videos, a car started to cross an intersection, but then the driver got scared because the approaching traffic was closer/faster than she thought, so, instead of accelerating out of the way, she actually hit the bra

            • Yes, it depends on the situation, conditions and relative speeds. For me, the only time I've found myself in a position where accelerating was of help was when I was careless and pulled out in front of somebody else. I accelerated to get out their way while they braked. In my personal experience, I've found that slowing down when idiots cut me up or cut across me has turned out better. However, stopping in the middle of a junction is just plain suicidal.

              If the google car was hit in the rear quarter then it

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday June 05, 2015 @06:19PM (#49852565)
    NEVER your fault. it's the other guy.
  • by Cassini2 ( 956052 ) on Friday June 05, 2015 @06:23PM (#49852589)

    I do a great deal of driving. About once a week, someone tries an unsafe lane-change with me opposite. Yesterday, someone attempted to change lanes with me directly beside them. No turn signals or anything. As far as I could figure out, the lady had no clue she had even done a lane change.

    It is really hard to detect, react, and prevent someone trying to lane change on top of you, or to prevent someone from rear-ending you. I really hope someone figures out something better than what we have right now.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      It is not impossible. One of my rides is a roadster. It is a small sports car that with a top down is not very noticeable to inattentive driver.

      I am forced to drive assuming others don't see me.
    • I really hope someone figures out something better than what we have right now.

      I have an idea: autonomous cars. They would prevent all of these things.

      • I have an idea: autonomous cars. They would prevent all of these things.

        You don't even need fully autonomous cars. There are many cars on the road today that can prevent both rear ending the car in front of you, and inadvertent lane changes. My wife's Tesla does both of these things, although I have no personal experience with these features, since she won't let me drive it.

    • Driving a little bit erratically will stop about 80% of that without increasing your own accident risk (as long as you are doing it intentionally).

      Nothing major- just drift back and forth and side to side a few inches so your position is not completely certain.

      But if they need to change lanes (because they just noticed they were missing it), then there is not much you can do.

      I've been driving about 36 years and four of my five accidents were being hit from behind while stopped at a red light. In one case,

      • Driving a little bit erratically will stop about 80% of that without increasing your own accident risk

        an 18 wheeler changing lanes into me without signaling as I was passing it on the right.

        Have you opened a driving school yet? Many wayward souls could benefit from your wisdom.

      • That's a little mangled. Three of 5 were being hit from behind while stopped at a red light. 1 out of 5 was from being hit from the front while stopped at a red light. And one was the truck changing lanes into me.

        1 was halloween night and they literally drinking in the truck...
        1 was on the way to work and the lady just thought the light had changed.
        1 was on the way to work and two high schoolers caravaning to close hit each other exiting the freeway- the air bag stunned one and she just continued careene

    • Sheer paranoia is a good preventative measure. I was once rear ended by an SUV coming down a hill at about 45 while I was stopped waiting to turn left. Getting slammed that hard just once was enough to make damn sure I look in my rear view mirror every time I stop any place where someone might possibly rear end me, ready to hit the gas if need be. What we need is an AI that does that from the get-go, without getting burned first.
      • Sheer paranoia is a good preventative measure. I was once rear ended by an SUV coming down a hill at about 45 while I was stopped waiting to turn left. Getting slammed that hard just once was enough to make damn sure I look in my rear view mirror every time I stop any place where someone might possibly rear end me, ready to hit the gas if need be. What we need is an AI that does that from the get-go, without getting burned first.

        This is precisely the sort of thing that riding a motorbike teaches you. You do not relax your vigilance ever while you are on the road. But it's just too easy to do so in a car.

  • 2015 February
    A Google Lexus model AV was travelling northbound on El Camino Real in autonomous mode when another vehicle travelling westbound on View Street failed to come to a stop at the stop sign at the intersection of El Camino and View Street. The other vehicle rolled through the stop sign and struck the right rear quarter panel and right rear wheel of the Google AV. Prior to the collision, the Google AV’s autonomous technology began applying the brakes in response to its detection of the other v

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think they just fucked up the description of what happened there. Consider that it takes about 150 ms for a human to react even when they know what they should do, and much longer if they have to think about it, and try to imagine what happened in this accident taking that into account.

      According to Google's account of the accident, the self-driving car noticed the approaching vehicle on its right and decided to stop. We aren't told where it decided to stop, whether that was before entering the lane that

  • our new accident free Diving Miss Daisy autonomous vehicle Google overlords. I would also add I'd be more than willing to serve as a passenger seated in my new autonomous vehicle Overlord while I get driven to my work.

  • by Hussman32 ( 751772 ) on Friday June 05, 2015 @07:05PM (#49852907)

    At some point, there will be a significant fraction of autonomous vehicles along with human drivers. The AVs will drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs, and in general perform as the model driver would. The problem is few of the human drivers perform this way, most of us cruise at 5-10 mph over the speed limit, roll through stops, and change lanes without signalling (well, I always signal at least).

    I can only imagine the uptick in accidents because of the frustrated drivers waiting on the model AVs. Those will be interesting times.

    • by jfengel ( 409917 )

      Ironically, once we get past that point, we can actually do away with all of the stop signs. They exist only for humans, who have limited reaction times and can only see line-of-sight. The computers will be able to know where all of the other cars are (at least, the one with transponders). They'll signal, but they'll do it in a far more meaningful way than just a blinky-blinky light.

      They can probably even go considerably faster than the current speed limits, safely. But they probably won't have to, since th

      • by tmj0001 ( 704407 )
        There will be no need for them to slow down either. To streams of traffic can just spread out a little and interlace as they go through an intersection, once most cars are autonomous. Passengers will get used to it after the first few times.
        • To streams of traffic can just spread out a little and interlace as they go through an intersection,

          So you mean like this [imgur.com]?

          Though this might be a better way to drive [sublimedirectory.com].
  • we used to call it the granny lane.
  • I guess the way to check this is to analyze the liklihood of a human accident versus an automated accident.
  • Look from the rear mirror, and move more if needed.
  • "There was one incident where another car rolled a stop sign, one in which another car veered into the AV's lane, ..."

    I wonder to what degree it is programmed to not assume that other drivers on the road abide the law, or even drive reasonably?

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