Self-driving car crash figures revealed – but manufacturer claims none were at fault.
Self-driving cars have been involved with four collisions in California in the past eight months – but none were at fault, the BBC reports. In September 2014, the State allowed forty-eight self-driving cars to be tested on public roads. Similar schemes are proceeding in other parts of the world. Of the four cars that had a collision, three belong to Google and one to parts supplier Delphi.
Google says its self-driving vehicles have “never been the cause of an accident” and that the majority of these incidents were caused by fellow motorists, the BBC says. It seems that some self-driving cars were struck from behind. A Google spokesperson added: "Safety is our highest priority. Since the start of our programme six years ago, we've driven nearly one million miles autonomously - on both freeways and city streets - without causing a single accident”.
Delphi told the BBC its vehicle was struck while stationary at a crossroads while in manual mode. Its spokesperson said: “A police report indicates the fault of the accident is with the second vehicle, not Delphi.” Nobody was hurt as a result of the collision.
Self-Driving Car Crash Legal Implications
The time might come – perhaps in the near future - when a self-driving car is perceived to have caused a collision through action, or inaction. As with any traffic incident this could cause death, physical injury, physiological injury or damage to property.
Legal action might follow, and the result could set a precedent the motor industry has to live with for years. A court might have to decide if a self-driving car – and therefore its manufacturer - are responsible for a crash or whether the motorist should have intervened. The outcome of future cases could be influenced by this early decision.
How A Google Self-Driving Car Works
A Google self driving car incorporates a range of systems. Major elements include the lidar, which is a rotating roof mounted laser that scans more than two-hundred feet in every direction. Its purpose is to bounce a signal to nearby objects then create a highly accurate three-dimensional map of the vehicle's surroundings. A position estimator in the left rear wheel plots its position on this map. Traditional GPS – which is familiar from satellite navigation systems and mobile phones – also plays a role.
Lidar complements four others lasers mounted in the front and rear bumpers. Their purpose is to monitor the speed of surrounding vehicles in real time. Furthermore, a front-mounted camera scans for traffic lights, traffic signs, pedestrians and cyclists.