Google’s self-driving cars are no stranger to accidents, but rarely are the autonomous cars at fault and rarely do those accidents cause any significant damage. Today, it seems, may be an exception for the latter case, with one of the Mountain View company’s Lexus self-driving vehicles sustaining major damage in an accident involving a commercial van…
As far as we know, this is yet another case where the human — driving what appears to be a commercial van (as you can see being towed in the background) — was at fault. It’s still notable, however, as one of the worst — if not the worst — accidents one of Google’s cars has ever been in. As you can see in the image above, the entire right door on the Lexus is crumpled in along with a broken window or two.
Specifically, we’re told the crash happened in Mountain View, California, at the corner of W El Camino Real and Calderon Ave. We’re told that no one was hurt in the crash and all airbags deployed.
“I only saw the tail-end of the crash, and the dazed Google employees sitting around afterwards waiting for their tow-truck. I had to be on my way,” a witness told us. The witness also mentioned that, based on their perspective, the self-driving car was not at fault. “From what I could see, it was the van’s fault entirely,” they said.
There’s no official word on this from Google yet (we’ve reached out for comment on the situation, but have yet to hear back), but if Google follows decorum, chances are we won’t hear more about it until it releases its self-driving car report at the end of the month. And that makes sense — it will probably take a little while before all the necessary paperwork is filed with the DMV.
Earlier this year, Google’s self-driving car was in its first at-fault accident involving a bus, which also involved a Lexus vehicle. Coincidentally, that accident also happened along El Camino Real.
Update 8:51 PM PT: Google has provided us with the following statement.
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.
picture credit to @grommet – reprinted with permission