Compared to historical car manufacturers who consider that they responsibility stops at the paint layer, this is a welcome change. I’m always concerned browsing through reports that reads, paraphrased “Our cars are f-cking tanks, we will mow through any obstacle and you’ll barely even notice.”
I’m always hesitant to give more reporting power to private actors (they tend to get their PR team spin it hard) but in that case, that report informs effective internal decision: Do we put more aggressive thresholds to break when a cyclist appears nearby to our radars? Do we use a more accusing beeping sound when driving too close to the curb, tailgating?
Distributed actors have proven they have very little concern for human lives. Centralised systems, when they are ubiquitous, will have to take that terrifying number of 1.2 million as their own key performance indicator and act differently.
At it's best, the article suggests google is being methodical and responsible with its rollout. At it's worst, it's a PR blitz to give the appearance of safety, but even that is a good start as it acknowledges that people care about autonomous vehicle safety.
Here in Europe it seems to me that functional safety is high on the self driving agenda ... (maybe too high?)