One of Google’s self-driving test vehicles, a Lexus RX 450h hybrid sport utility vehicle, was recently involved in a serious crash in Mountain View, California. While no one was injured in the accident (there was an occupant in the Google car at the time), it did result in “significant damage” to the Lexus that led to it being towed from the scene.
It appears, though, going by initial reports, that the accident was entirely the result of the driver of the other vehicle — who saw fit to run a red light.
Autoblog provides more: “The accident happened when another driver in a commercial van ran a red light and hit the passenger side of the autonomous vehicle. Google confirmed that the vehicle was piloting itself at the time of the accident. When it became obvious a collision was imminent, the human driver applied the brakes, but it was too late. The car sustained significant damage in the crash and had to be towed away on a flatbed trailer. This isn’t the first time one of Google’s self-driving vehicles was involved in an accident, but it does appear to be the first time one of the tech giant’s cars sustained serious damage.
A representative for Google made a statement to 9to5Google.com: “Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”
A good response. But so long as human drivers are on the road (for the foreseeable future), there will no doubt be some who think running a red light is a risk worth taking, so such accidents will likely remain a reality for some time. Self-driving technologies stand to reduce accidents caused by other factors pretty substantially, though, going by current data.
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