ANOTHER FENDER-BENDER for Google’s driverless car has been reported, although doorstop-dumb humans were again to blame.
An accident report filed by the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles said that the crash occurred on 28 April at 5:35pm PDT in Sacramento, California. It was caused when Google’s autonomous car, in this case a Toyota Prius, was rear-ended by a human-driven car.
"The Google AV [autonomous vehicle] came to a stop at the intersection of San Antonio Road, then, prior to making a right turn, began to gradually advance to get a better view of traffic approaching from the left on San Antonio Road," said the report.
"When the Google AV stopped to yield to traffic approaching from the left on San Antonio Road, a vehicle approaching at approximately 9mph from behind the Google AV collided with the rear bumper of the Google AV."
Thankfully, the low-speed collision left no-one injured, except for possibly a bit of bruising to the embarrassment gland. The bumper bashing follows a minor crash involving one of Google’s driverless cars in April. But luckily for Google’s Auto division cars driven by dozy human drivers were to blame in both cases.
Overall there have been very few incidents in which Google’s driverless cars were responsible for the crashes encountered since the company began testing its autonomous systems on Californian roads. One of its cars had a near miss with another autonomous vehicle, when the blame was laid firmly at Google’s door.
Google's cars aren’t exactly unfamiliar with minor prangs, having been involved in 13 traffic accidents between September 2014 and November 2015. This figure is impressive compared with the thousands of serious accidents and deaths caused by human drivers every year in the US and UK, and states a good case for allowing more driverless cars on public roads.
That’s handy as testing is due to happen in the UK, including on the mean streets of London. And some car companies are accelerating autonomous car development in slightly bizarre ways, like Jaguar Land Rover looking to create driverless car tech that behaves like humans. What could possibly go wrong? µ
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