Well honestly, Google, what did you expect?
Rightly proud of their self-driving cars, which have been roaming the US unleashed for over half a decade now, Google recently released the following boast: In 1.7 million miles, our cars have only been involved in 11 minor accidents. That’s an incredibly impressive stat. The cars have been journeying all over the US, racking up miles and miles, every day for 6 years. In all that time there have been no serious accidents and no minor ones caused by the cars themselves. The 11 minor accidents consist of, eg, people running into the back of the Google car whilst waiting at a light.
However, that’s not how the media were ever going to report it. “Google acknowledges its self-driving cars had 11 minor accidents” says the Guardian. The Telegraph’s by-line reads “Google reveals number of crashes its self-driving cars have suffered in the US, raising fears over the safety of the technology“, when in fact quite the opposite is true.
Self-driving cars are a really exciting new technology; one of those rare things that truly have the opportunity to revolutionise how we live. The technology is showing real promise as it matures. But as with anything new there will always be detractors – and this kind of headline doesn’t help.