Chris Umson, the director of Google’s driverless car program, blogged earlier about the first Google self-driving car injury accident. This one, like many others, involved the Google car being rear-ended. Also like the others, it was not the driverless car’s fault. The biggest difference was that this accident produced minor injuries.
The driverless car, a Lexus SUV, came to a stop at a green light at an intersection due to traffic being backed up in the right lane. The Google car was rear-ended at 17 mph due to what is assumed to be a case of distracted driving as the driver did not brake.
Mr. Umson wrote, “Thankfully, everyone in both vehicles was okay, except for a bit of minor whiplash, and a few scrapes on our bumper. The other vehicle wasn’t so lucky; its entire front bumper fell off.”
As for the injuries, they consisted of neck and back pain felt by the other driver. The Google vehicle’s occupants (two passengers and the California-law-mandated person behind the wheel) were examined at an area hospital and cleared to return to work. No update is currently available as to the status of the other driver.
To date, the Google driverless vehicles have been in 15 accidents (counting this one) in six years. All were minor accidents, typically rear-enders, and none up until now caused any injuries. All accidents were the fault of other drivers.
The blog post contained the following plea:
“Please, as you get behind the wheel this summer, keep your eyes on the road. The fight to end distracted driving starts with each of us — at least until that day when you can summon a self-driving car and just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”
Home, James. It’s time for tea.