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Google reports first driverless car injuryBack

DriverlessCarsGoogle has blamed its first driverless car injury on a careless driver.

Google’s self-driving cars have been tested on the roads in California for six years, yet this week is the first time that an injury has been caused. The company has revealed that its self-driving cars are in fact hit quite often by other drivers, but up until now there has been no injuries.

Yesterday, Google revealed that 3 of its employees who had been passengers in one of its driverless Lexus cars were taken to hospital suffering the effects of minor whiplash. The accident occurred when another car rear-ended the Lexus SUV at traffic lights in Mountain View, California earlier this month.

The accident was the 14th to occur in the 6 years since Google began testing its autonomous cars, and during this time the cars have covered a total 2 million miles of testing.

Chris Urmson, who leads the company’s driverless car project, said in a blog; “Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road. That’s a big motivator for us.

“The most recent collision… is a perfect example.”

Urmson went on to explain how these statistics showed that Google’s cars are still significantly safer than human drivers.

In the most recent collision, the car failed to break at traffic lights, and hit the back of the Google vehicle at 17 miles per hour.

Urmson continued: “Other drivers have hit us 14 times since the start of our project in 2009 (including 11 rear-enders), and not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision.

“Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention. We’ll take all this as a signal that we’re starting to compare favorably with human drivers.

“Our self-driving cars can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions, and they never get tired, irritable or distracted.”

The news comes among growing fears for the safety of Google’s self-driving cars. A proportion of the public have voiced concerns that the technology is prone to making mistakes, resulting in injuries and potential road deaths.

Would YOU be a passenger in a driverless car? We’d love to know your thoughts below.

Posted by Leana Kell on 17/07/2015