Did two self-driving cars, one owned by Google and the other owned by Delphi, have a near miss on the streets of Palo Alto the other day?
Not really, according to Delphi. But they were involved in a “complex driving scenario.”
Google is the most prominent tester of self-driving cars on California roads, but it’s not the only one. Reuters reported that John Absmeier, global business director for Delphi’s automated driving program, was in a self-driving car Tuesday that got cut off by a Google self-driving car.
Two self-driving prototype cars, one operated by Google Inc and the other by Delphi Automotive Plc, had a close call on a Silicon Valley street earlier this week, a Delphi executive told Reuters on Thursday.
It was believed to be the first such incident involving two vehicles specially equipped for automated driving.
It’s important to note that there was no crash – not even a fender bender. Both cars made it out unscathed.
But was it really a near miss? Did two self-driving cars almost crash into each other?
Not really, according to Delphi, who says Reuters took Absmeier’s story out of context.
“I was there for the discussion with Reuters about automated vehicles,” a delphi spokesperson told Ars Technica. “The story was taken completely out of context when describing a type of complex driving scenario that can occur in the real world. Our expert provided an example of a lane change scenario that our car recently experienced which, coincidentally, was with one of the Google cars also on the road at that time. It wasn’t a ‘near miss’ as described in the Reuters story.”
“Our car did exactly what it was supposed to,” she continued. “Our car saw the Google car move into the same lane as our car was planning to move into, but upon detecting that the lane was no longer open it decided to terminate the move and wait until it was clear again.”
So, maybe the fact that it was robots driving instead of humans helped prevent an accident?