Last month, a Google self-driving car was involved in the first injury-related accident associated with a driverless vehicle, reportedly causing only minor injuries to those involved. According to the head of the Google driverless vehicle program, Chris Urmson, this accident occurred on July 1st when another driver rear-ended the Google vehicle, which was carrying three Google employees.
The driverless car had reportedly been stopped at a green light because the intersection ahead of it was blocked with other vehicles. The driver behind the Google vehicle was traveling at about 17 miles per hour (mph), showing no signs of slowing, when it rear-ended the Google car.
This marks the 14th accident that a Google driverless car has been in within six years of testing these vehicles – and with about 1.9 million driving miles logged. As Urmson explained in a blog about this collision:
It’s particularly telling that we’re getting hit more often now that the majority of our driving is on surface streets rather than freeways; this is exactly where you’d expect a lot of minor, usually-unreported collisions to happen. 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 car been the cause of the collision. Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention. We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.
Google Faces Question, Is There a Way to Combat Other Drivers’ Distraction?
This latest traffic accident for the Google driverless vehicle seems to be raising more questions and challenges for researchers, who are now putting some serious thought in whether there are additional things that can be done to combat other drivers’ negligence on the road.
In fact, one consideration has been to develop some type of alert system, such as automated honking, to warn other drivers of a potential crash in the event they are not paying attention.
Whether such features come to fruition – and whether additional injury accidents with the driverless cars will occur during testing – remains to be seen, however.
As more news regarding the Google driverless vehicle program becomes available, we’ll report the latest updates to you here in our blog. Until them, post your thoughts on this accident and/or driver distraction on our Facebook & Google+ pages.
Contact a St Louis Car Accident Lawyer at Brown & Brown Attorneys at Law
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