The tech giant – Google is in the news again for its self-driving car accident, and this time, minor injuries to the passengers are also reported. This accident occurred on July 1 and is the first time that Google’s self-driving car crash involves injuries, although minor. Like all other reported accidents, this time also Google blames the accident on humans, and not the autonomous driving technology.
On Thursday, the company disclosed that one of its Lexus RX 450H SUV met with a rear-end crash, in Mountain View, California, the hometown of Google. The onboard three passengers suffered minor whiplashes and were released soon from the hospital.
The SUV stopped at an intersection when another car crashed into its back, and onboard diagnostics showed it didn’t brake at all, suggesting it a case of human error. The self-driving car had normal and natural braking, allowing the followers plenty of stopping distance, but the car that rammed into the back of the SUV never decelerated.
“After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph–and it hadn’t braked at all. The clear theme is human error and inattention,” Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving car program said. He continued, “We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.”
Google said that none of the self-driving car accidents resulted in a police report, including the July 1 accident, although the police were present on-site. Despite all the facts showing human error as the primary cause, Google kept waiting for 15 days before reporting the accident.
The autonomous SUV only faced a minor dent on the rear bumper fortunately, but the other car was not so lucky, as its entire bumper separated itself from the car. The self-driving cars met with 14 accidents so far, 11 of which were rear-enders, and all were due to the fault of other drivers. Hence, Google’s technology is not to be blamed for the crashes.
The SUV was one of Google’s 23 Lexus RX450h hybrid models, equipped with self-driving technologies like radar and cameras. The tech giant also has 25 prototypes of its making, only two of which are on the streets.
Self-driving cars are being testing amidst the traffic and cover 10,000 miles a month, roughly equaling the mileage of a typical U.S. driver in a year. Google also announced its plans to expand its autonomous cars testing to Austin, Texas, earlier this month.