California DMV releases self-driving car accident reports

California DMV releases self-driving car accident reports
© Getty

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) changed course and agreed to share reports of accidents involving self-driving cars with the press this week

The Associated Press reported Thursday that it had convinced the agency to share six accident reports with the wire service. It has refused to release them in the past, citing privacy laws.

ADVERTISEMENT
None of the accidents caused injuries to the person in the other car involved or the person who must be in an autonomous vehicle while it is being tested.

The accidents involved two companies: Google and Delphi, which makes auto parts and has modified an Audi to make it autonomous. Seven companies are approved to test self-driving vehicles in California, according to the AP.

Personal information is blacked out of the reports, according to the AP.

It follows a decision by Google to release monthly reports on accidents involving its fleet of self-driving cars, which are being tested in California. As of June 5, there had been 13 accidents involving the search giant's vehicles.

The reports include narratives describing the accidents, which the company says include most of the information that would be available in the DMV reports.

The company had been under some pressure from the press and critics to release the accident reports — though it says the decision to release the reports came before an activist confronted Google founder Sergey Brin about the issue at a shareholder meeting.

Still, the decision by the DMV to share the reports adds another layer of transparency at a time when autonomous vehicles are becoming more high-profile.

Traditionally, the self-driving vehicles Google has tested in the open have been modified Lexus cars. This summer, however, Google is putting vehicles of its own design on the roads in Mountain View, Calif.

Uber, the ridesharing company, has been building out its own facility in Pittsburgh to work on autonomous cars and is already testing a vehicle.