Google points finger at distracted drivers

Google self-driving car

Google’s self-driving cars have been hit 14 times, all the fault of humans operating other vehicles, the technology’s developers say.

“Not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision,” Google’s project leader Chris Urmson says in a blog post. “Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention.”

Put another way: “Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road.”

Ouch. The most recent incident, well publicized, came in early July when a vehicle hit one of Google’s modified Lexus vehicles from behind. The car was going about 17 mph and the driver didn’t even attempt to brake, Google says. The crash occurred near Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

“This certainly seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead,” Urmson says.

A couple of Google staffers suffered some minor whiplash (whatever that is) while the offending vehicle lost its bumper.

The human driver, who also reported some pains, hasn’t surfaced to dispute Google’s version of the accident.

So hear Google’s plea to keep its high-tech vehicles safe:

“The fight to end distracted driving starts with each of us – at least until that day when you can summon a self-driving car and just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.”

Here’s Google’s animated version of the events:

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