It’s no secret that these self-driving robo-cars have been involved in a bunch of accidents to date – the folks at Mountain View recently came clean about a dozen or so fender-benders. Occupants of both vehicles complained of some discomfort including pain in their necks and lower backs, and were taken to a nearby hospital, where they were discharged on the same day after having received treatment for minor whiplash.
“Other drivers have hit us 14 times since the start of our project in 2009 (including 11 rear-enders), and not once has the self-driving auto been the cause of the collision”, he wrote. “After we’d stopped, a vehicle slammed into the back of us at 17 mph - and it hadn’t braked at all”.
Urmson has said the company does not want to build its own self-driving cars, but would prefer to find a development and production partner.
The tech giant said that the accident happened on 1 July when its driverless Lexus sports utility vehicle was rear-ended while stationary in a queue of traffic on a road in California.
The Google self-driving cars have humans on board who can assume manual control of the vehicles if necessary. Urmson ends his post by running down statistics that show how much of a problem distracted driving is, and that Google is committed to solving this problem with their automated vehicle. Google also announced its plans to expand its autonomous cars testing to Austin, Texas, earlier this month. “The clear theme is human error and inattention”, Urmson wrote. We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.
That’s not unusual. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looking at 2010 data found that 60% of property damage-only crashes and 24% of all injury crashes are not reported to the police, and that most of unreported injury accidents involved only minor injuries.
The autonomous SUV only faced a minor dent on the rear bumper fortunately, but the other vehicle was not so lucky, as its entire bumper separated itself from the vehicle.
Mountain View police responded, but did not file an accident report.