3 Google Employees Suffer Whiplash After Collision Involving Self-Driving Car

July 17, 2015  |  

Three Google employees suffered mild whiplash when the self-driving Lexus SUV they were in was rear-ended. The person who hit the Google car also says they had neck and back pain.

In Google’s home base of Mountain View, CA, 20 prototypes of the self-driving car have been motoring around in the testing phase, manned by staffers who can intervene in the case of an emergency and take notes about the car’s operation. The idea is that these cars will ultimately “be safer and more efficient than human drivers,” ABC News reports.

In this case, a report says the Google car approached a green light at an intersection where there was a traffic jam. A car hit the Google Lexus at about 17 miles per hour. Chris Urmson, who is Google’s director of the self-driving car project and wrote about the July 1 accident on Medium, says the driver of the other car never even hit the brake.

“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,” writes Urmson. Here’s a reenactment of the accident.

There was no police report filed, which Urmson said is the case for 55 percent of all crashes. He says their cars have been hit 14 times since they started testing them in 2009, 11 times in rear-end collisions such as this one. “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,” he says.

On the other hand, we’re seeing more media reports about the attempts to crack down on distracted driving, particularly as a result of our preoccupation with our mobile devices, which can lead to damage, injury and death

So, would you trust a self-driving vehicle enough to ride in one? Or knowingly be on the road with them?

h/t Time

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