A report filed with California's Department of Motor Vehicles reveals that Google’s self-driving cars have required drivers to take the wheel 341 times over the past 14 months.
In 11 of these instances, Google said that its cars would have been involved in a crash. Head of Google’s self-driving car project, Chris Urmson, said that this is not a reason to be alarmed. “There's none where it was like, 'Holy cow, we just avoided a big wreck'," he said.
Google reported 272 cases in which its software or on-board sensors failed, though it didn’t provide detailed scenarios. "We're seeing lots of improvement. But it's not quite ready yet. That's exactly why we test our vehicles with a steering wheel and pedals," Urmson said.
California Department of Motor Vehicles officials have proposed self-driving car regulations that would mandate that a person be able to take the wheel if needed. Google, meanwhile, has argued that once they’re ready for the public to use that human intervention would actually make them less safe.
Google’s self-driving cars have been involved in nine collisions since September 2014. In these instances, the other vehicle was responsible, according to researchers at Virginia Tech University.