Google’s self driving car gets involved in a fender bender (again)


Humans prove once again that we make lousy drivers but at least no robots were hurt in the crash

When, oh when oh when will these self-driving cars, with all their artificial intelligence smarts learn that we humans are dangerous!?

Earlier this week one of Google’s self-driving cars was involved in one of the worst autonomous vehicle accidents yet, when a driver ran a red light and collided with the passenger side door of the modified Lexus SUV.

The driver of the vehicle passed through a red light as one of Google’s fleet of autonomous Lexus SUVs passed through a green light on Friday afternoon. The collision, which occurred at the intersection between El Camino Rea and Phyllis Ave in Mountain View, California, caused the Google car’s airbags to be deployed, and caved in its front and rear right-side doors.


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Mountain View police said that no injuries were reported, but the Google car had to be towed away on a flatbed truck.

Google’s autonomous vehicles are no stranger to accidents, suffering multiple impacts with various vehicles. Mostly they’ve been rear-ended when either driving slowly or stationary at a junction, suffering minor damage. The side impact in this most recent accident is one of only a few that have caused major damage to the expensive test vehicles.

Google said that the car was in self-driving mode with a person sitting at the steering wheel. The Google car hit the brakes automatically on seeing the other car crossing the red light, followed by the human behind the wheel doing the same, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the collision.


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James Allen, who happened upon the crash, told KBCW: “I’ve never seen one in an accident and I see at least 30 to 40 a day. They’re very good cars, that’s why I was so shocked.”

A Google spokesperson told 9to5Google: “Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection. 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.”

Google’s fleet of autonomous cars have covered over 2 million miles and has been involved in around two dozen accidents, with only one – a collision with a bus – being the fault of the self-driving car.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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