Google: Distracted Humans Keep Hitting Our Cars

Latest self-driving accident is first to cause injury
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2015 3:49 AM CDT

It sounds as if Google is getting a bit fed up with the way distracted, flawed humans keep crashing into its self-driving cars. In the latest accident, which the AP reports is the first involving a Google car to cause human injury, a car rear-ended a stationary self-driving car at 17mph, causing minor whiplash to people in both vehicles. This is the 14th accident involving the self-driving cars, and Google says they have all been minor and all been the fault of the driver of the other vehicle. "We're seeing first-hand the true measure of how distraction is impacting driving," self-driving car project chief Chris Urmson tells USA Today.

In the accidents, which include 11 rear-enders, "the clear theme is human error and inattention," Urmson writes in a Medium blog post. "We'll take all this as a signal that we're starting to compare favorably with human drivers." Unlike humans, he notes, Google's cars "can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions, and they never get tired, irritable, or distracted." He tells the AP that Google is looking into ways to alert distracted drivers when a collision with a self-driving car is imminent, although they suspect self-honking cars won't go down too well with the public. (Read more Google stories.)

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