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Google’s Self Driving Car Involved in Accident

Google says human was driving it

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Google’s Self Driving Car Involved in Accident
[ Technology]

Car blog Jalopnik broke a story about one of Google’s self-driving cars being involved in a fender bender with a Prius.

Justin Hyde writes, “Sent in by a Jalopnik tipster, the photos were snapped earlier this week near Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. The Prius — recognizable as a Google self-driving prototype from the roof equipment that’s smaller than a typical Google Streetview image collector — appears to have rear-ended another Prius.”

If you’ve not read up much on Google’s self-driving cars, they were first announced last year. Here’s a snippet from the announcement:

Our automated cars use video cameras, radar sensors and a laser range finder to “see” other traffic, as well as detailed maps (which we collect using manually driven vehicles) to navigate the road ahead. This is all made possible by Google’s data centers, which can process the enormous amounts of information gathered by our cars when mapping their terrain.

To develop this technology, we gathered some of the very best engineers from the DARPA Challenges, a series of autonomous vehicle races organized by the U.S. Government. Chris Urmson was the technical team leader of the CMU team that won the 2007 Urban Challenge. Mike Montemerlo was the software lead for the Stanford team that won the 2005 Grand Challenge. Also on the team is Anthony Levandowski, who built the world’s first autonomous motorcycle that participated in a DARPA Grand Challenge, and who also built a modified Prius that delivered pizza without a person inside. The work of these and other engineers on the team is on display in the National Museum of American History.

Here’s video of them in action from Search Engine Land’s YouTube channel:

This year, Nevada made it legal for the cars to operate in the state. According to Jalopnik, the cars have been “racking up hundreds of thousands of miles in California.”

Business Insider obtained a statement from Google about the accident: “Safety is our top priority. One of our goals is to prevent fender-benders like this one, which occurred while a person was manually driving the car.”

Ok, so it’s a human error. Allegedly. Computers never have errors though right?

Are these cars a good idea?

Oh by the way, robots are getting smarter, and Google has been known to rent out giant robot spiders:

Google’s Self Driving Car Involved in Accident
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  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    We’re already trusting our lives to computer chips when we drive modern vehicles. I don’t think most people realize how much computer technology is used in a modern car.

  • http://xhibitswebdesign.com Souleye Cisse

    I wonder how they could have pulled it off so long without a hitch. lucky that microsoft didn’t get into the self-driving car business. we would experience a sharp hike in the mortality rate!

  • zadoc

    This is one of those stories that makes you go “really?” with a sense of suspicion.
    POLL: Do you believe that human error really caused the crash?
    Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/1738107

    I take them at their word.

  • http://www.thefreelancersguide.info work at home review

    hey I would not trust my way back home sleeping and let the software run my car..or else I won’t wake up :) :P

  • http://www.prismatic-app.com Paul

    Most humans are rubbish drivers. At the moment, computers might be worse – but for how long I wonder? But having a nap while the computer drives still feels a bit like closing your eyes while the computer gives you a shave with a cut-throat razor. I guess it will take a new generation to grow up being used to these things…

  • http://1stpersonblogger.blogspot.com/ M

    This just goes to show that cars are not yet ready to drive themselves. But it is a good innovation and hopefully very soon the cars would drive themselves perfectly.

  • http://karras-bommer.blogspot.com Karras Bommer

    The trick is programming a car to drive defensively. How can they possibly script the number of variables involved.

  • http://www.webmarketingtips4u.com/ TPJaveton

    If the so-called ‘self-driving car’ was being operated by a human driver, where’s the news here? Isn’t it logical that the human driver has to disable some aspects of the car’s automation in order to take control of the vehicle?

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that there was a fender bender somewhere near Google’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters between two motorists. That’s it! The fact that one of the vehicles was a Google self-driven car is really a moot point.

    TPJ-

  • http://www.nationwidestrippersconnection.com/ Lauren

    I am not sure if I would trust that… I see more accidents in the near future. Are we really that lazy that we can’t drive ourselves?

  • http://www.celltherapyjobs.com Brad

    Why would someone be running errands in such a state of the art vehicle? Apparently their computers are much safer than humans. Why risk such an event with a human?