Four out of 50 driverless cars involved in accidents since September 2014

By April Taylor , May 11, 2015 08:37 AM EDT

Since September 2014, four out of roughly 50 driverless cars roaming the streets of California were apparently involved in accidents, according to a new report.

Driverless cars aim to take driving to the next level, and one important goal is making the roads safer by eliminating accidents caused by human error. As it turns out, however, autonomous vehicles are no strangers to accidents either.

California started issuing permits for testing autonomous vehicles back in September 2014. According to a new report from the New York Times (NYT), four out of 50 driverless cars licensed to roam the streets of California have been involved in accidents already, since September.

Although they are called driverless cars, a driver must be behind the wheel at all times, ready to take control if necessary. In two of those four accidents, the driverless cars were not to blame, the driver was. In the other two cases, meanwhile, the autonomous vehicles were in control at the time of the accident.

"Three involved Lexus SUVs that Google Inc. outfitted with sensors and computing power in its aggressive effort to develop "autonomous driving," a goal the tech giant shares with traditional automakers. The parts supplier Delphi Automotive had the other accident with one of its two test vehicles," the NYT reports.

"Google and Delphi said their cars were not at fault in any accidents, which the companies said were minor."

"In the October accident involving Delphi, the front of its 2014 Audi SQ5 was moderately damaged when, as it waited to make a left turn, another car broadsided it, according to an accident report the company shared with AP. The car was not in self-driving mode, Delphi spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said," further adds the NYT.

Under California law, collision reports are confidential, so the details regarding the exact circumstances of the accidents remain largely unknown. One source familiar with the reports, however, told the NYT that in all four accidents the driverless cars had speeds under 10mph.

All accidents were reportedly minor, and the technology is expected to advance and perfect in the future. Driverless cars are still in testing stages, but the potential is quite exciting. In time, safety will surely increase, but for now the cars have not managed to eliminate accidents.

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