Google’s Driverless Car Rear-Ended, Brin Says, Defending Effort

How Driverless Cars Could Disrupt the Auto Industry

Google Inc. Co-Founder Sergey Brin said one of its driverless car was involved in another rear-end accident, even as he defended the prospects for the self-driving technology.

The accident occurred in the past week, Brin said Wednesday during a meeting of shareholders in Mountain View, California. Google’s self-driving vehicles have been involved in 11 accidents in the six years they’ve been in testing, though none was the fault of the car, the company said last month.

“I’m very proud of the record of our cars,” Brin said. “Our goal is to beat human drivers.”

Google is grappling with questions about the safety and performance of driverless cars. The company’s investment in such vehicles is part of its internal project, Google X, that focuses on long-term opportunities for cutting-edge technologies. Google has touted safety as an advantage for the cars that can use sensors, maps and other tools to avoid the mistakes leading to accidents caused by human drivers.

The majority of the collisions happened when the experimental cars were hit from behind, with some on the freeway and some at traffic lights, Chris Urmson, director of Google’s self-driving program, said last month in a blog post.

Google has tested the technology on public streets using existing autos made by Toyota Motor Corp. The company said last month it would begin this summer to put 25 of the bubble-shaped vehicles it has made on roads in Mountain View to analyze their performance.

Company Proposals

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said shareholders approved the election of directors, the ratification of Ernst & Young LLP as independent accountant and the issuance of additional shares for its equity incentive plans.

The company, whose voting power is controlled by Brin, co-founder Larry Page and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, turned down all stockholder proposals.

Schmidt, addressing a question about Apple Inc., said the company is a Google partner and a competitor, saying the search business between the companies as important.

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