Google’s self-driving cars clear 300,000 miles with no crashes

WASHINGTON – In 2010, Google vice president Sebastian Thrun announced the company’s self-driving cars successfully logged 140,000 miles without incident.

At the time, the idea of an automated car was shocking.

Now, Google has reached another milestone: The cars have driven more than 300,000 miles without a single accident while under computer control. A car once was rear-ended while at a traffic light as the result of human error.

In a blog post announcing the milestone, engineering lead Chris Urmson said the company is encouraged by the progress, but there’s still a long way to go.

“To provide the best experience we can, we’ll need to master snow-covered roadways, interpret temporary construction signals and handle other tricky situations that many drivers encounter,” wrote Urmson. “As a next step, members of the self-driving car team will soon start using the cars solo (rather than in pairs), for things like commuting to work.”

But Google isn’t the only one with an eye on the prize. ExtremeTech reports Ford plans on offering a self-driving car by 2017 and in Europe some cars can already read road signs.

WTOP’s Del Walters and Lacey Mason contributed to this report.

Follow Lacey and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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