People have been injured in a crash involving one of Google's self-driving cars for the first time, project head Chris Urmson wrote in a post on Medium on Thursday, July 16, according to Business Insider.
Google's cars are periodically involved in accidents on public roads as the tech company develops the experimental autonomous technology. It publishes a monthly report detailing all such incidents. So far, none have been the fault of the self-driving car — this most recent one included.
The accident in question took place on July 1 at an intersection in Mountain View, California. "The light was green, but traffic was backed up on the far side, so three cars, including ours, braked and came to a stop so as not to get stuck in the middle of the intersection," Urmson writes. "After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph — and it hadn’t braked at all."
The three passengers in Google's vehicle suffered from "minor whiplash," according to a report in the AP, visited hospital briefly, and were "cleared to go back to work."
In its most recent report, released in June, Google said its fleet of self-driving vehicles had driven more than 1.8 million miles (including when being manually driven), and have only been involved in 14 "minor" accidents. "Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident."
“Our braking was normal and natural, and the vehicle behind us had plenty of stopping distance — but it never decelerated. This certainly seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead. Thankfully, everyone in both vehicles was okay, except for a bit of minor whiplash, and a few scrapes on our bumper. The other vehicle wasn’t so lucky; its entire front bumper fell off,” Urmson said.