Good news and bad news from Consumer Watchdog about autonomous cars in CA

google-carThe good news is that after much prodding from Consumer Watchdog, the California Department of Motor Vehicles today said it will now post all autonomous vehicle accident reports on its website.

The bad news is that the group didn’t get everything it asked for previously, John Simpson and Consumer Watchdog petitioned the DMV for a rulemaking process that would amend robot car testing regulations to require police to investigate crashes and to require copies of any video or technical data gathered by the robot vehicle related to the crash be provided to the department.

“Under the current regulations, the Department relies completely on the testing company’s account of what happened.  With the public’s safety at stake, it’s imperative that a neutral third party investigates any accident involving a robot car,” wrote Simpson, in the petition to the DMV.

The current state of having the license holders file their own reports, is kind of like asking Volkswagen to test its own diesel vehicles, ehhhh?

Under the current self-driving testing regulations, manufacturers must provide the DMV with a report of the crash within 10 business days of the incident.  The DMV has now posted all nine crash reports it has received since companies were required to file them last September. Eight of the crashes involved Google cars. One involved a Delphi vehicle. Google was involved eight crashes additional crashes before reporting as required for a total of 16 accidents since it began testing robot cars. The DMV said it will issue a news alert when a new crash report is posted.

Currently there are ten companies approved by the DMV to test robot cars on California’s highways. They are: Volkswagen Group of America, Mercedes Benz, Google, Delphi Automotive, Tesla Motors, Bosch, Nissan, Cruise Automation, BMW and Honda.

The group is following up on our question we asked when the first accidents occurred, “They have cameras on the cars, why don’t they have to show video footage of what happened?”

It seems that the tech companies don’t want the world to know how many mistakes their cars make on the road which would become obvious with video and data.