Google has revealed that one of its self-driving cars was involved in a crash that injured four people- but it was entirely the fault of another car…. and it has the evidence to prove it.
On Thursday, July 16, 2015 one of its SUVs was rear-ended in its home city of Mountain View, and the three people on board complained of minor whiplash.
All were released from the hospital soon after the July 1 collision.
In California, a person must be behind the wheel of a self-driving car being tested on public roads to take control in an emergency.
Google typically sends another employee in the front passenger seat to record details of the ride on a laptop. In this case, there was also a back seat passenger.
Google has invested heavily as a pioneer of self-driving cars, technology it believes will be safer and more efficient than human drivers.
This was the 14th accident in six years and about 1.9 million miles of testing, according to the company. Google has said that its cars have not caused any of the collisions — though in 2011 an employee who took a car to run an errand rear-ended another vehicle while the Google car was out of self-driving mode.
In 11 of the 14, Google said its car was rear-ended.
“The clear theme is human error and inattention,” Google’s self-driving car programme head Chris Urmson wrote on Medium.
“We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favourably with human drivers.”
The team are now looking into potential ways of alerting distracted drivers before a collision occurs, such as honking, although such a solution may disturb residents around Mountain View.