Self-driving car involved in injury crash

18 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

3 Google Employees Injured In Self-Driving Car Accident.

One of Google Inc’s self-driving cars was involved in an accident early in July, in which three employees were injured when a vehicle equipped with Google technology was rear-ended by another vehicle, the company said.In the collision, a Lexus SUV that the tech giant outfitted with sensors and cameras was rear-ended in Google’s home city of Mountain View, where more than 20 prototypes have been self-maneuvering through traffic.As employee Chris Urmson reports in a blog, a Google Lexus vehicle was driving autonomously toward an intersection in Mountain View during rush hour when a car slammed into the back of the car at 17 mph. “As you can see from the video above, our braking was normal and natural, and the vehicle behind us had plenty of stopping distance — but it never decelerated,” Urmson wrote. “This certainly seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead … But we’re now driving enough — and getting hit enough — that we can start to make some assumptions about that real crashes-per-miles-driven rate; it’s looking higher than we thought.” “Not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision,” Urmson said. “Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention. The three Google employees on board complained of minor whiplash, were checked out at a hospital and cleared to go back to work following the July 1 collision, Google said.

We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.” In all, 48 vehicles are being tested on California’s roads. The technology giant, which started developing self-driving cars in 2009, said its prototype vehicles have been struck 14 times, including 11 rear-end collisions. Google last month said it would issue monthly reports about its self-driving automobiles after a shareholder asked the company to be more transparent about accidents involving the technology.

However, Urmson said data shows that Google’s cars were much safer than human drivers. “We’re seeing first-hand the true measure of how distraction is impacting driving,” Urmson told USA Today. “None of our accidents rise to the level of police reports. But most major multinational auto makers are developing their own so-called automated vehicles that are designed to control major functions such as steering, brakes and throttle, without human effort. Earlier this year, The Christian Science Monitor reported that self-driving car accidents could delay autonomous technology by potentially slowing the testing process. “Teaching self-driving cars to avoid serious accidents, which have the potential to reverse public opinion and stall innovation, is a priority for many companies developing autonomous vehicles,” the Monitor cited Raj Rajkumar, a pioneer of the technology with Carnegie Mellon University.

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. However, as Google continues to release information on any accidents in which its driverless cars are involved, Urmson says the cars which use a number of sensors to interpret the environment around it are less likely to cause accidents. “Our self-driving cars can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions, and they never get tired, irritable or distracted.

The light was green, but traffic was backed up on the far side, so three cars, including ours, braked and came to a stop so as not to get stuck in the middle of the intersection. People, on the other hand, “drive as if the world is a television show viewed on TiVo that can be paused in real time – one can duck out for a moment, grab a beer from the fridge, and come back to right where they left off without missing a beat” – to quote Sheila Klauer of the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute in Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do.

The driver of that car reported “minor neck and back pain.” The SUV’s rear bumper was slightly damaged, while the vehicle that struck it lost its front bumper.

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