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Google robo-car in rear-end smash – but cack-handed human blamed
Come, Luddites, help us smash the Borg before it's too late
Vid Passengers of a Google self-driving car were hurt when the robo-vehicle collided with another car – but Google insists the human at the wheel of the other car is to blame.
The web goliath has often blamed the human inability to manoeuvre vehicles when its own driverless machines have been involved in prangs.
A blog post by Chris Urmson, Google's robot taxi guru, complains: "Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road."
He cites "the most recent collision, during the evening rush hour" on 1 July as "a perfect example."
One of the Chocolate Factory's fleet of robot-chauffeured pods was painlessly rolling, as it autonomously might, towards an intersection near Google's HQ in Mountain View, California.
The light was green, but traffic was backed up on the far side, so three cars, including ours, braked and came to a stop so as not to get stuck in the middle of the intersection.
After we'd stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17mph — it hadn't braked at all.
The three passengers were reportedly treated in hospital for minor whiplash. Urmson cites the object awareness video above, which displays the Google vehicle braking in a normal and natural fashion, while the vehicle behind it fails to decelerate.
The prang follows a non-crash with a Delphi robotic car in what initially seemed the beginning of an internecine tincandroid conflict.
Google's vehicles have been hit on 14 occasions since the start of its robot chauffeur project in 2009. Eleven of these were rear-enders, writes Urmon, "and not once has the self-driving car been the cause of the collision. Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention".
"Our self-driving cars can pay attention to hundreds of objects at once, 360 degrees in all directions," writes Urmon, who gave a TED talk on 'How a driverless car sees the road', "and they never get tired, irritable or distracted".
People, on the other hand, appear to be bloody ignorant apes. ®