google self driving car crash

google self driving car crash

Google Self Driving Car Crash

A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) was traveling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand lane approaching the Castro St. intersection. As the Google AV approached the intersection, it signaled its intent to make a right turn on red onto Castro St. The Google AV then moved to the right-hand side of the lane to pass traffic in the same lane that was stopped at the intersection and proceeding straight. However, the Google AV had to come to a stop and go around sandbags positioned around a storm drain that were blocking its path. When the light turned green, traffic in the lane continued past the Google AV. After a few cars had passed, the Google AV began to proceed back into the center of the lane to pass the sand bags. A public transit bus was approaching from behind. The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact.
google self driving car crash 1

Google Self Driving Car Crash

In a blog post, Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving car program, writes that the self-driving Google Lexus was stopped at an intersection near the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters on July 1. The light was green but the traffic congestion meant that the Google car, and the two in front of it, could not make it through the intersection without blocking it, he wrote. But the driver of a fourth car didn’t notice the stopped traffic, only the green light, and plowed into the back of the Google car at 17 mph, without braking.
google self driving car crash 2

Google Self Driving Car Crash

Our self-driving cars spend a lot of time on El Camino Real, a wide boulevard of three lanes in each direction that runs through Google’s hometown of Mountain View and up the peninsula along San Francisco Bay. With hundreds of sets of traffic lights and hundreds more intersections, this busy and historic artery has helped us learn a lot over the years. And on Valentine’s Day we ran into a tricky set of circumstances on El Camino that’s helped us improve an important skill for navigating similar roads.El Camino has quite a few right-hand lanes wide enough to allow two lines of traffic. Most of the time it makes sense to drive in the middle of a lane. But when you’re teeing up a right-hand turn in a lane wide enough to handle two streams of traffic, annoyed traffic stacks up behind you. So several weeks ago we began giving the self-driving car the capabilities it needs to do what human drivers do: hug the rightmost side of the lane. This is the social norm because a turning vehicle often has to pause and wait for pedestrians; hugging the curb allows other drivers to continue on their way by passing on the left. It’s vital for us to develop advanced skills that respect not just the letter of the traffic code but the spirit of the road.On February 14, our vehicle was driving autonomously and had pulled toward the right-hand curb to prepare for a right turn. It then detected sandbags near a storm drain blocking its path, so it needed to come to a stop. After waiting for some other vehicles to pass, our vehicle, still in autonomous mode, began angling back toward the center of the lane at around 2 mph — and made contact with the side of a passing bus traveling at 15 mph. Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it. (You can read the details below in the report we submitted to the CA DMV.)Our test driver, who had been watching the bus in the mirror, also expected the bus to slow or stop. And we can imagine the bus driver assumed we were going to stay put. Unfortunately, all these assumptions led us to the same spot in the lane at the same time. This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day.This is a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving — we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements. In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision. That said, our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that.We’ve now reviewed this incident (and thousands of variations on it) in our simulator in detail and made refinements to our software. From now on, our cars will more deeply understand that buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles, and we hope to handle situations like this more gracefully in the future.
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Google Self Driving Car Crash

As the Google proceeded through a green light at the El Camino Real intersection, its autonomous technology detected another vehicle traveling westbound on El Camino Real approaching the intersection at 30 mph and began to apply the Google AV’s brakes in anticipation that the other vehicle would run through the red light. The Google AV test driver then disengaged the autonomous technology and took manual control of the Google AV. Immediately thereafter, the other vehicle ran through the red light and collided with the right side of the Google AV at 30 mph. At the time of collision, the Google AV was traveling at 22 mph. The Google AV sustained substantial damage to its front and rear passenger doors. The other vehicle sustained significant damage to its front end.
google self driving car crash 4

Google Self Driving Car Crash

Earlier this week, Quartz reported on two minor scrapes that Uber’s self-driving cars have already gotten into in the Steel City. Higher profile incidents involving driverless technologies this year include a self-driving Google car hitting a public bus in Silicon Valley, and a crash that killed the driver of a Tesla Model S while autopilot was enabled.
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Google Self Driving Car Crash

The Google self-driving cars are now driving about 10,000 miles a month, or roughly the amount of driving a typical U.S. driver in a year. The cars have driven just over 1 million miles in self-driving mode, and another 800,000 miles with a driver in control.
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Google Self Driving Car Crash

Google’s self-driving car project began in 2009 and on Oct. 5 the company announced that its vehicles had driven more than 2 million miles on public roads. Google, now a division of Alphabet, said it had reached the 1 million mile threshold just 16 months earlier. Its self-driving fleet in the US consists of 24 Lexus SUVs and 34 prototype vehicles, operating on the roadways of four different states.
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Google Self Driving Car Crash

Google said that the car was in self-driving mode with a person sitting at the steering wheel. The Google car hit the brakes automatically on seeing the other car crossing the red light, followed by the human behind the wheel doing the same, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the collision.
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Fortunately, the injuries were minor, according to the company. And Google insists that like all the other accidents in its self-driving car program, it was the fault of humans, not the self-driving car.
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And in fairness, unless every single car on the road is autonomous, Google is right: there is some degree of negotiation involved, and false assumptions in those negotiations are where the crashes can happen. We’re many, many years away from a road free of human drivers, and until then, self-driving cars are occasionally going to hit things. It just so happens that this is the first time the crash was directly attributable to the car, not another driver on the road, and it all comes back to a bit of (surprisingly human) bad judgment.
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This was a minor incident, and we’re happy to report that there were no injuries. However, this might be the first instance where one of Google’s self-driving cars caused an accident. If so, the Mountain View crew can no longer say it’s an innocent dove on the roads — while this wasn’t a glitch, its software made a decision that led to a crash. We’ve reached out to Google to see if it can elaborate on what happened.
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A Google self-driving Lexus RX 450h was involved in a crash with a van in Mountain View, Calif. on Friday afternoon, according to local police. Another driver ran a red light and crashed into the car. Thankfully, nobody was injured in the accident.
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“A Google vehicle was traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. in Mountain View when a car heading westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and collided with the right side of our vehicle. Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection. Thousands of crashes happen everyday on U.S. 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.”

Published on May 1, 2017 | Under Car | By michael ellis
| Jef-m
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