Self driving car crash hospitalised Google's operator: Firm reveals smart vehicle tried to avoid another vehicle jumping a red light - but says its driver took control before impact
- During the collision the airbags were deployed and the side doors caved in
- Thankfully neither driver was injured in the process
- Google's self driving cars have now been around 25 accidents, although only one so far has been the fault of the car itself
Google has revealed the operator of one of its prototype self driving cars was hospitalised after a recent crash - but said he had taken control of the vehicle.
The crash occurred in Mountain View, near Google's HQ, when a driver ran a red light and collided with the passenger side door of Google's modified Lexus SUV.
The firm revealed today its driver 'voluntarily went to a local hospital where he was evaluated by medical staff and released.'
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Last week, one of Google's cars was involved in one of the worst autonomous vehicle accidents yet, which caused the airbags to be deployed, and caved in both the front and rear side doors
GOOGLE'S SELF DRIVING CAR ACTIVITY TO DATE
As of September 30th, 2016:
Number of vehicles on the road: 24 Lexus RX450h SUVs and 34 prototype vehicles
Miles driven in autonomous mode: 2,102,417 miles
Miles driven in manual mode: 1,276,780 miles
Average autonomous miles per week: 25,000-26,000 miles
'A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. in Mountain View in manual mode was involved in an accident,' the firm said today.
'As the Google AV 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.
CHAINSAW WIELDING MEN AND UNICYCLE RIDERS
The firm also revealed some of the odder things its cars have seen.
'In the last few months, we’ve seen everything from a horseback rider in the middle of the road, to a man wielding a chainsaw in the street (don’t worry, he was trimming trees!), to a couple riding unicycles side-by-side.
'Today, our cars can confidently handle unusual situations like seeing a car (or three!) driving the wrong way down a road. '
Google 's car has learnt to stop horses in the road, the firm said.
'At the time of collision, the Google AV was traveling at 22 mph.'
The Google car sustained substantial damage to itsfront and rear passenger doors, the firm said, while the other vehicle sustained significant damage to its front end.
There were no injuries reported at the scene by either party.
'However, the Google AV test driver later voluntarily went to a local hospital where he was evaluated by medical staff and released,' the firm said.
Since Google began testing its self-driving cars in 2012, the autonomous vehicles have been involved in a number of crashes.
Most of these have been minor and at low speeds, so have not caused significant damage to either the car or the person at the wheel.
Due to regulations, the self-driving vehicles must have a person sitting at the steering wheel, to take over in case the car malfunctions.
This is not the first time a Google self-driving car has been involved in an accident.
Speaking to KBCW, James Allen, who witnessed the crash, said: 'I've never seen one in an accident and I see at least 30 to 40 a day.
'They're very good cars, that's why I was so shocked.'
The cars are limited to 25 miles per hour, so have on several occasions been rear-ended when driving slowly, or when waiting at a junction.
A Google spokesperson told 9to5Google: 'Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection.
The technology learns from the different variations that it ‘sees’ on the road, such as multicolored frames, large wheels, bikes with car seats and even unicycles – this allows the cars to ‘better share the road no matter your choice of ride (Google prototype pictured)
'Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US.
'Human error plays a role in 94 per cent of these crashes, which is why we're developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.'
Google's autonomous cars have covered over two million miles to date.
But they have also been involved in around 25 accidents, with only one – a collision with a bus – being the fault of the self-driving car.
HOW DID GOOGLE'S CAR LEARN TO DETECT CYCLISTS?
After much observation on the roads and private test tracks, the software in the self-driving vehicles has learned to recognize patterns in behavior, which is now helping the vehicles predict a cyclist’s next move.
These sensors have evolved to detect a rider’s hand signals way in advance of the turn and the software has learned to remember previous gestures to better anticipate future riders.
‘Because our cars can see 360 degrees, we’re more aware of cyclists on the road — even in the dark. Take, for example, this tricky situation involving two cyclists at night,’ explains Google.
‘Our car cautiously approached a cyclist that veered into our lane and stopped to avoid another that suddenly turned a corner and rode directly at us against the flow of traffic.’
‘Our car was able to adapt to this unusual situation, and avoid a potential collision.’
Vehicles will give riders 'ample buffer room' when passing the cars and will not squeeze them into the centre lane.
The software has learned to recognize patterns in behavior, which is now helping the vehicles predict a cyclist’s next move.
Since no two cyclists are the same, the self-driving cars’ software can also recognize riders of different shapes and sizes. Google has also tested the new technology with 100 'Googlers riding the bicycles around a self-driving car, as it is shown staying in the same spot not to hit any of the riders
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