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Self-driving cars avoiding the body shop


If the notion of driverless cars gives you pause, it turns out you may be worrying about the wrong vehicles.

Google Inc. reported this week that after logging 1.7 million miles over six years, its more than 20 driverless cars were involved in 11 accidents, none of them caused by the vehicles’ robot drivers.

In a blog post, Google’s self-driving car program director, Chris Urmson, argues that the technology has many advantages over a flawed human operator.

“With 360-degree visibility and 100% attention out in all directions at all times, our newest sensors can keep track of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians out to a distance of nearly two football fields,” he wrote.

Hard telling whether this breakthrough will trickle down to company cars and fleet insurance, but Google’s findings sound like a good reason for drivers to focus on the road.

“Our safety drivers routinely see people weaving in and out of their lanes; we’ve spotted people reading books, and even one playing a trumpet,” Mr. Urmson wrote.

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