Google self-driving car rear-ended in accident

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

NBC News – Google's self-driving car project has become the victim of yet another rear-ender accident — and like the other collisions, Google says it wasn't at fault. But unlike the others, there were minor injuries.

According to the blog post by Chris Umson, director of Google's driverless car program, one of Google's autonomous test vehicles (a Lexus SUV outfitted with self-driving technology) had slowed to a stop at a green light at an intersection in Mountain View, California, where traffic had backed up in the right lane.

Another car coming up from behind failed to brake at all, striking the rear of the Google car at 17 mph. You can see a bird's-eye-view of how the accident took place in this video showing the system's map of objects around it.


Of course, there are much more sensors on the car that see the world in much greater detail, but this wireframe recreation gets the gist across — the other driver was probably distracted.

"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," Umson wrote.

California requires a human to be behind the wheel of a self-driving car being tested on public roads. The Associated Press reported there were also two passengers in the Google car, and all three were checked out at a hospital and cleared to go back to work following the July 1 collision. The driver of the other car also complained of neck and back pain, according to AP. Google did not immediately respond to a request from NBC News for more details.

Google said its self-driving cars have been involved in 14 previous minor accidents in six years of testing but this is the first first time an injury has ever been reported. None of the accidents has been the system's fault, Google says, and most of them were rear-enders like this one.

"Please, as you get behind the wheel this summer, keep your eyes on the road," plead the writers of the blog post. "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."