Google’s Self Driving Car Involved in Accident

    August 5, 2011
    Chris Crum

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:


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.