Google has released a report on Thursday claiming that one of it’s self-driving Lexus prototypes which drives around Mountain View California was again rear ended while stopped in traffic.
Although this has happened before more than once this is the first time that the accident resulted in any sort of injury. The Lexus was hit in the rear by another motorist whom was traveling about 17 miles an hour when the impact occurred. There were three riders inside of the Lexus who complained of minor whiplash and were checked out at a hospital before being cleared to return to work. The offending driver also reported neck and back pain. The accident happened on July 1st according the Google.
With over twenty similarly outfitted Lexus SUVs driving in the area it seems it was only a matter of time before one of the (few) accidents they have been involved in resulted in some sort of harm to a passenger. Only 14 accidents have occurred in the 1.9 million miles of testing Google has performed and 11 of those accidents were test cars being rear ended while stopped. Google has invested probably more time and money than any other company in the emerging technology on the bet that it will be safer for everyone involved.
Chris Urmson, who heads Google’s self-driving car program says the test vehicles “are being hit surprisingly often” and noted that most of the time it’s from distracted drivers, the same things the program is trying to eliminate in the future. “The clear theme is human error and inattention,” Urmson also said “We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.”
Urmson also claims that according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration about 55% of minor accidents actually go unreported even despite police being on the scene.
The trend of autonomous vehicles is not without it’s skeptics though. Many including leaders of auto companies are focused on more driver-assisted technology and argue that self-driving cars have many liabilities included being hacked, and facing certain regulations.