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Google driverless car has first injury accident

August 1, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Surprise! Humans are still way more dangerous than autonomous cars


The media went crazy for about 24 hours with stories about the first injury-producing car accident involving a Google car.

But, it turns out it was a human who caused the crash.

After 1.9 million miles of test driving Google cars, these miraculous vehicles – that thankfully will one day put me and lawyers like me out of business in a world without car accidents – still haven’t caused an injury accident.

As an auto accident attorney, the latest crash confirms something we already know: Human beings make lots of mistakes behind the wheel. And it’s a very early indication of how the purpose of these driverless cars – preventing crashes caused by human-error –  is becoming fulfilled.

Here’s more about the injury accident: Google Inc. revealed that one of its self-driving car prototypes was involved in an injury accident for the first time on July 1, according to a recent story on cbsnews.com.

In the collision, a Lexus SUV that Google outfitted with sensors and cameras was rear-ended in its home city of Mountain View, California, where more than 20 prototypes have been self-driving through traffic.

The three Google employees on board complained of minor whiplash. But they checked out at a hospital and were cleared to go back to work following the crash, according to Google. The driver of the other car also complained of neck and back pain.

In California, a person must be behind the wheel of a driverless car being tested on public roads to take control in an emergency. Google typically sends another employee in the front passenger seat to record details on a laptop. In this case, there was also a back seat passenger.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this technology, driverless cars — also called self-driving cars, autonomous cars, robotic cars  and Google cars – are vehicles that drive themselves. They have new advanced sensory and navigation technology that enable them to route without a human driver. For more information, please take a look at my blog post, “Driverless cars: Who’s driving and who’s responsible?”

Google says this was the 14th car accident in six years and about 1.9 million miles of testing, stating that its cars have not caused any of the accidents.

Chris Urmson, head of Google’s self-driving car program said it best in a recent blog post:
“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.”

We will all live in a better world with Google cars driving us around.

Related info:

Driverless cars: Who’s liable in an accident?

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