Companies like Google, Apple and General Motors are testing out driverless cars constantly as they try to refine the technology. These vehicles do keep getting involved in accidents, but those accidents are often very minor.
According to recent reports, the GM subsidiary Cruise has gotten involved in 51 crashes in California. The Google subsidiary Waymo has gotten involved in 37 crashes. Those are the two with the highest accident totals.
That said, these accidents are often minor. In many cases, cars are just going between one and 10 miles per hour at the time of impact. They also tend to get into accidents at intersections and ramps, not on open two-lane roads.
Furthermore, experts note that other drivers are often to blame for these accidents. Driverless cars move slowly and cautiously to keep people safe — as evidenced by the fact that human error is to blame for most crashes involving automated vehicles. Overall, human drivers tend not to be cautious, careful or safe. Many accidents happen when human drivers rear-end driverless cars or hit them as the cars slowly turn through intersections.
Another issue is road design. Naturally, roads have never been built with the intent of functioning perfectly for a computer. This provides some challenges to a driverless car, as the roads were designed for live drivers.
All that being said, there are examples of more serious car accidents involving driverless cars, like the deadly crash in Arizona. That car was operating for Uber. The investigation into that case is ongoing.
It will be very important to keep an eye on these developments as driverless cars become more common, and anyone injured in an accident with one must know their rights.