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Google says its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents over the six years the project has been active, but none were the car's fault. The company's fleet of self-driving vehicles and team of safety drivers have collectively logged 1.7 million miles, Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving car program, said in a blog post Monday. Autonomous driving accounted for nearly a million of those miles. "Over the 6 years since we started the project, we've been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident," Urmson wrote.

Most of the accidents were crashes where the Google car was rear-ended. Google's self-driving cars have also been sideswiped a couple of times and hit by a vehicle that rolled through a stop sign. "Not only are we developing a good understanding of minor accident rates on suburban streets, we've also identified patterns of driver behavior (lane-drifting, red-light running) that are leading indicators of significant collisions," Urmson said. "Those behaviors don't ever show up in official statistics, but they create dangerous situations for everyone around them."

Urmson's post went up the same day that The Associated Press published a story stating that four self-driving cars — three from Google and one from Delphi Automotive — have gotten into accidents in California since the state began issuing permits in September.



— James Eng