Google's newly spun-out self driving car company no longer publishes monthly accident reports


google waymo

A Waymo self-driving car.

Google officially spun out its self-driving car project into the newly-named Waymo company in December.

But while the car group unveiled a shiny new logo and brand to the world, it quietly washed away another, less-flattering bit of information from its public identity.

The company removed the page of monthly reports detailing traffic collisions and other accidents on public roads that involve its self-driving vehicles. And Waymo will no longer publish the accident reports on its website, Business Insider has learned.


The page that once hosted all of the accident reports now redirects to Waymo's general website, which makes no mention of any accidents.

"We've replaced our PDF reports with a new blog and website that continues to give insights into our technology," a Waymo spokesperson told Business Insider in a written statement. "In addition, our team puts together reports that are published on the CA DMV website detailing safety-related disengages in the state and collisions we've experienced on the road."

The monthly accident reports, which Google began publishing in June 2015, were an effort to appease growing concerns about the safety of the self-driving cars that Google was testing on public roads in California.


Fender benders

Many of the reports detailed small fender benders, which often occurred when Google's autonomous cars were in manual mode and were rear-ended by other drivers. But the reports also detailed problematic incidents like the time a self-driving car hit the side of a public transit bus in Mountain View, Calif. after mistakenly assuming the bus would slow down or yield. Another report recounted the time a self-driving car was pulled over by the cops for driving too slow.

The reports also included updates and information about the inner-workings of the company's self-driving cars, including how the vehicles visualized the world and recognized objects like emergency sirens.

John Krafcik

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Waymo CEO John Krafcik

The last public incident report on Google's site covered the month of November 2016, the company's first accident-free month since January 2016.


Jessica Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the California DMV, told Business Insider that Waymo is not required to publish the monthly public reports. But the company is required to report any accident involving a Waymo self-driving vehicle to the DMV. Those accidents are published on the California DMV's website. The last one on the DMV site is from October 2016.

Waymo will send accident reports to all the states where it is testing its cars. The various state DMVs will be responsible for publishing the accident reports on their own sites.

The California DMV does not list any accidents on its site involving Google cars since October.


Something's missing

Self-driving cars are increasingly in the spotlight, as tech and auto companies race to develop the technology, and as regulators grapple with a major change in transportation. Last month Uber was forced to remove its self-driving cars from San Francisco after a dispute with state regulators over whether the vehicles needed to be registered as autonomous cars.

Waymo now lists its past monthly reports as blog posts on its official blog. But the posts have one big difference from the original PDF versions of the reports (which can still be found using Google search): The accidents are no longer included.

A post from August 2016 entitled "A record month in miles" highlights all the progress Google's fleet of 58 self driving cars achieved at that point in time, including driving 126,000 miles in autonomous mode. Unlike the original August 2016 report though, the new blog posts does not include the five separate detailed logs of collisions that month involving Google cars.


Several accidents involving Waymo self-driving cars have been reported over the years, but only one was determined to be the fault of Google's self-driving car.

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