Humans Can't Stop Crashing Into Google's Driverless Cars

By Kate Knibbs on at

Google’s driverless cars keep getting into bumps, and the company keeps stressing that the crashes aren’t a result of a computer glitch or rogue robotics system. Google’s cars are getting dinged for the same reason regular cars do: because people who drive make mistakes.

The most recent incident happened on July 1st, when a driver rear-ended one of Google’s cars at stop light. Google releases information on every crash its driverless fleet gets into, so the company put out this video showing how things went down:

Google’s Chris Urmson used the crash as an opportunity to reiterate how error-prone regular people are while driving, and how reliable Google’s driverless cars are in comparison:

As you can see from the video above, our braking was normal and natural, and the vehicle behind us had plenty of stopping distance — but it never decelerated. This certainly seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead.

The person who rear-ended the Google car would’ve rear-ended any car. Urmson’s not wrong about people sucking at driving, but it’s a stark reminder that Google’s cars are still vulnerable to most of the same hazards as the ones with humans behind the wheel.