Google has claimed that its self-driving car tests are going well, despite suffering 11 minor accidents in six years of journeys.
The company claimed that none of the incidents was the vehicle's fault, despite concerns about the safety and security of autonomous vehicles.
A blog post by Chris Urmson, director of Google's self-driving car project, added that over one and a half million miles have been covered and that, in Google's experience, people are the worst drivers.
"Over the six years since we started the project, we've been involved in 11 minor accidents (light damage, no injuries) during those 1.7 million miles of autonomous and manual driving with our safety drivers behind the wheel, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident," he claimed.
"Rear-end crashes are the most frequent accidents in America, and often there's little the driver in front can do to avoid getting hit.
"We've been hit from behind seven times, mainly at traffic lights but also on the freeway. We've also been side-swiped a couple of times and hit by a car rolling through a stop sign."
A report in The Guardian said that four out of the 48 self-driving cars that have been tested on the road in California have been involved in accidents. Three of the vehicles belong to Google while the fourth belongs to a company called Delphi.
The state of California does not reveal details of car accidents, so the circumstances of the incidents are not known. Google told Associated Press that the accidents are low in number considering the length of the trials.
"Safety is our highest priority. Since the start of our programme six years ago, we've driven nearly a million miles autonomously, on freeways and city streets, without causing a single accident," said a spokesperson.
A spokesperson for Delphi, which was involved in one incident, said: "A police report indicates the fault of the accident is with the second vehicle, not Delphi. No-one was hurt in the incident."
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