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fewer glitches in Google self-driving cars

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Google says fewer tech glitches in its self-driving cars

News Content:

Google said on Tuesday the rate of software failures in its self-driving cars was declining as the technology was learning from its mistakes, bringing the tech company closer to its goal of fully autonomous vehicles

In 424,000 miles of autonomous driving, Google said its cars had experienced 272 episodes in which the human test driver had to assume control of the vehicle, an occurrence called "disengagement", when the autonomous technology failed.

"As we continue to develop and refine the self-driving software, we are seeing fewer disengagements" despite more miles driven, Google said in a 33-page report submitted by law to the California Department of Motor Vehicles on Dec. 31

Google's development of self-driving cars has spurred outsized interest around the world, but the company best known for search has disclosed little about its strategy, business plans or ultimate goals

Without the need to watch the road, people in cars will talk on phones, watch entertainment, purchase consumer goods, among many other options, providing valuable data to Google

The report, covering the period Sept. 24, 2014, when Google began testing on roads of Palo Alto, California, to Nov. 30, 2015, found disengagements occurred about every 785 miles in the fourth quarter of 2014. A year later, that had expanded to 5,318 miles between episodes

Eighty-nine percent of disengagements occurred on city streets, where more obstacles and stop-and-go traffic make autonomous driving more difficult

Project director Chris Urmson said Google deliberately tests cars in different weather and times of the day, which explained why some months saw more episodes than others

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