Google Self-Driving Car Got Into An Accident, But It Wasn’t The Car’s Fault

Google’s much-discussed self-driving car got into an accident this month. Yet according to Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving car program, the accident wasn’t the car’s fault.

Rather, the accident indicates how many people drive while distracted:

Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road. That’s a big motivator for us. The most recent collision, during the evening rush hour on July 1, is a perfect example. One of our Lexus vehicles was driving autonomously towards an intersection in Mountain View, CA. 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. After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph — and it hadn’t braked at all.

You can see a visualization of the accident in this video.

There were minor injuries involved, and the car that hit Google’s vehicle lost its front bumper. But it could’ve been worse, as Urmson ends his post by running down statistics that show how much of a problem distracted driving is, and that Google is committed to solving this problem with their automated vehicle.

(Via Chris Urmson at Medium)