• Autonomous Cars Nearly Have Autonomous Collision

    Two self-driving cars narrowly avoided colliding with each other in California Tuesday, the first time such vehicles have been involved in an incident that did not involve a human driver.

    The close call occurred while the cars — one operated by Google and the other by Delphi Automotive — were conducting road tests near Silicon Valley, and a crash was only averted by the automatic reaction of the Delphi vehicle, Reuters reported Friday(RELATED: Will Government Regulation Crash Driverless Cars?)

    John Absmeier, director of Delphi’s Silicon Valley lab and global business director for the company’s automated driving program, told Reuters that he was a passenger in Delphi’s self-driving Audi Q5 when it was forced to take evasive action to avoid a collision with a Lexus RX400h autonomous vehicle operated by Google.

    The Delphi car was preparing to change lanes, he said, when the Google vehicle abruptly cut it off, forcing the Audi to abort the lane change. Absmeier praised the successful maneuver, saying the car “took appropriate action.” (RELATED: Conan Highlights Some Possible Glitches With Google’s Self-Driving Car)

    Google has not commented on the incident, but the company has traditionally taken pride in the safety record of its autonomous vehicle program, according to The Inquirer.

    Several weeks ago, Google reported that its self-driving cars have been involved in just 13 accidents in the past six years, all of which were caused by human error rather than software malfunctions. (RELATED: Self-Driving Car Outdrives Professional Race Driver for the First Time)

    All of the incidents have involved minor damage without personal injury, according to a Google spokesperson, and in the two most-recent incidents, the self-driving cars were rear-ended while stopped at a traffic signal.

    “So that brings the tally to 13 minor fender-benders in more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving,” the spokesperson summarized, “and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident.”

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