Consumer Watchdog Calls On Google To Release Driverless Car Accident Reports
SANTA MONICA, CA -- Consumer Watchdog today called on Google to release the reports of accidents involving its driverless cars that have been filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and to commit to making public all future driverless car accident reports.
“It is important that the public know what happened,” wrote John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director, in a letter to Google. “You are testing driverless vehicles on public highways, quite possibly putting other drivers at risk.”
Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter to Google CEO Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrpage050415.pdf
“Unbelievably, Google is planning to offer its robot cars without a steering wheel, brake pedal or accelerator so there would be no way for a person to take control in an emergency,” said Simpson today. “That plan underscores the need for the public to know the full details of all accidents.”
Consumer Watchdog learned that there had been accidents involving Google’s robot cars when the nonprofit nonpartisan public interest group filed a Public Records Act request with the California Department of Motor Vehicles seeking communications between Google and the department. However, the DMV treats driverless car accident reports confidentially and would not release them.
“You want to eliminate the most basic safeguard, a licensed driver able to take control, in your proposed driverless vehicles. This aim makes it even more important for the public to understand any accidents that occur involving your vehicles during the testing phase,” Simpson wrote in a letter to Google's executives. “Rather than hide behind the cloak of DMV confidentiality, Google should disclose the accident report and the full details of the incident. We also call on you to commit to making all future accident reports public.”
DMV rules also require companies testing driverless cars to report the details of all incidents when the robot technology was disengaged and the test driver had to assume control. Consumer Watchdog called on Google to make the disengagement reports public as well.
Consumer Watchdog’s letter to the Google executives concluded:
“Google has engaged in a highly visible public relations campaign extolling the supposed virtues of driverless cars. It is incumbent upon you to be candid about the cars’ failings and shortcomings as well. Your stated mission is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.’ Sadly, in practice, you’ve modified this to be ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible – except when it is about Google.’ Please treat yourselves as you would treat everyone else. Release DMV driverless car accident reports and details of your driverless car accidents. Make the autonomous technology disengagement reports public as well.”
1/5/2017News ReleaseSANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on Uber to release information about testing its robot cars in Arizona... More >
1/30/2017News ReleaseConsumer Watchdog Calls On SF Mayor Lee To Direct City Police To Monitor Uber’s Robot Cars As Vehicles Return; Asks Public To Note & Report All Violations By Renegade CompanySANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to ask Police Chief Bill Scott to have... More >
4/4/2017News ReleaseFormer NHTSA Chief Rosekind’s Move to Robot Car Company Zoox Calls Agency’s Self-Driving Policy Guidance into Question, Consumer Watchdog SaysSANTA MONICA, CA – The credibility of autonomous vehicle policy issued last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety... More >
4/25/2017News ReleaseConsumer Watchdog Tells California DMV Proposed Robot Car Deployment Rules Are Premature; Group Says Regulations Must Wait For Federal Safety StandardsSANTA MONICA, CA – Regulations proposed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles covering the deployment of robot... More >
1/5/2017News StoryCalifornia-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog publicly asked Uber to release test data surrounding its autonomous vehicle... More >