Google certainly does not have a pristine safety record when it comes to its fleet of self-driving cars, but this latest incident goes to show that the humans, not robots, are still the scourge of the highways.
A commercial-sized van has plowed into the right side one of Google’s autonomous Lexus SUVs after running a red light. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured.
Google has yet to disclose all the details of the accident, but the company was at pains to emphasize that the van driver was at fault for violating the traffic light, noting that red light violations are a leading cause of car accidents. Its self-driving SUV, on the other hand, entered the intersection “at least 6 seconds” after the light turned green.
The Mountain View-based company issued the following statement regarding the incident: “Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection. Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the U.S. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”
According to BGR, an eyewitness has corroborated Google’s account of the events, stating: “From what I could see, it was the van’s fault entirely.”
The incident underscores the reality that human error plays a significant role in traffic accidents and that even self-driving cars with rigorous safety and traffic law compliance protocols cannot avoid crashes entirely.