By Sophie Williamson-Stothert
Whether or not driverless cars will work in reality is a question that remains at the centre of automotive controversy. Their case hasn't been improved by Google’s Self-Driving car being involved in its first (minor) injury accident, even if it wasn’t its fault.
A Google Lexus RX SUV equipped with the self-driving technology, was stopped at a junction in Mountain View, California when a following car unexpectedly ploughed straight into the back of it.
Chris Urmson, director of Google's driverless car programme, told the Daily Mail: “After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph — and it hadn’t braked at all.”
In a recent blog post, he admits that its driverless cars are being hit “surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road.”
The collision occurred in rush hour when the car was heading towards a busy intersection as the Lexus slowed down for a red traffic behind three other vehicles. Data has revealed that the Google car was hit at 17mph by the distracted driver.
Urmson added: “The vehicle behind us had plenty of stopping distance – but it never decelerated.
“This certainly seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead.
“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.”
According to data released by Google, drivers have collided with the company’s driverless cars 14 times since 2009, but not once has one of its cars been the cause of the incident.
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