The Google driverless cars don’t behave the way humans expect and may be causing accidents. There is a report of something that could only happen in the Silicon Valley, that occurred on August 20, 2015. A 2013 Tesla S ran into a Google self-driving Lexus S. The Tesla driver was not injured, however, the Google driver who took over reported back injuries. It was short of two months before Tesla released its AutoPilot software then the accident would have been the first semi-autonomous car to run into a self-driving car!
We’re wondering why the Telsa S didn’t engage auto-braking and prevent the accident unless the two cars were scanning each other and couldn’t figure out what was going on when the human driver took over. The paper report doesn’t clearly show what happened. If the public had access to the video, data and a police report, the public could be assured of safety which Consumer Watchdog continually tries to get the California DMV to require. Also other autonomous vehicle makers could use the data to prevent such accidents from happening. Perhaps there is data in the Tesla S that was sent to Tesla shows what really happened.
Here’s text from the August 20, 2015 Report:
A Google Lexus autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) operating in autonomous mode and (travelling northbound on Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View in lane two (the second of three lanes) was involved in an accident. As the Google AV approached the intersection of Shoreline Blvd. and High School way, a pedestrian began to cross the northhbound lanes of Shoreline Blvd. in the crosswalk traveling westbound. The Google AV slowed to yield as it approached the crosswalk, and out of an abundance of caution the Google AV test driver disengaged the autonomous technology and took control of the vehicle. A vehicle in lane three to the immediate right of, and traveling in the same direction as, the Google AV was already stopped and yielding the right of way to the pedestrian. A vehicle in the process of changing lanes from lane one into lane two and approaching from the rear struck the Google AV (2013 Tesla S). The Google A V was traveling 5 mph at the lime of impact, and braking to stop for the crosswalk. The other vehicle was traveling approximately 10 mph at the time of impact.
The Google AV test driver reported minor back pain and was taken to a local hospital by Google employees, where he was evaluated and released by medical staff. The Google AV co-test driver did not report any injuries. The Google AV sustained minor damage to its rear left bumper. The other vehicle sustained moderate damage its front end and was towed from the scene. The driver of the other vehicle did not report any injuries at the scene.
In another July report, the Google driver and passengers reported “some whiplash” when rear-ended by a 2010 Nissan Maxima XL whose driver reported “minor neck injuries and pain”.
Previously, the Google PR machine contended that no human has been hurt in autonomous self-driving testing. Whiplash and back pain can be serious injuries.
Consumer Watchdog is watching out for public safety and asking the California Department of Motor Vehicles to not bend from pressure from Google and continue take the time needed to create laws the govern self-driving cars protect public safety.
The group believes it is imperative that the DMV “reject the Internet giant’s self-serving lobbying.” It is more important to get the regulations right, without not rushing them.
The testing rules have important safeguards, but should still be improved the group wants the DMV to amend the testing rules to require that police investigate any robot car crash as well as require copies of any technical data and video associated with a robot car crash be turned over to the department.
In developing the public use regulations Consumer Watchdog said it is important to remember that the current testing regulations require that companies file “disengagement reports” covering all times and circumstances when a human driver had to take control of a vehicle being tested. The group said those reports covering the period from September 2014 through Nov. 30 are due on Jan. 1 and should be made public.
Another factor that must be considered in developing the rules is the way the robot cars interact with human drivers. Increasingly, including the Google crash report posted on the DMV website this week there is mounting evidence that the robot cars don’t behave the way humans expect.
Recently a Google self-driving LSV was pulled over by the Mountain View police for going too slow. The Google+ page said the Google cars are not capped at 25 mph for safety. They are capped at 25 mph because the are classified as a low-speed vehicle (LSV) neighborhood vehicle.
In early October, Consumer Watchdog announced the California DMV would post accident reports on its website, but still advocated for video and data documentation.
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