A small crash occurred in Mountain View, California earlier in July according to a blog post written by lead Google engineer Chris Urmson. One of the company’s self-driving car prototypes was hit from behind on the first of July late afternoon near the corner of Grant Road and Phyllis Avenue. The collision is actually the 14th to happen during Google’s test drives, however this is the first case involving anyone being injured.
Don’t fret though, as the collision was overall very minimal. Three Google employees were briefly sent to the hospital before being deemed fine and returning to work, and the other driver complained only of minor neck and back pain, according to Associated Press. Urmson noted in his post that the crash was due to human error and not the car itself – as were all of Google’s other crashes – and that the system’s computer controls were still working fine.
“Everyone in both vehicles was okay, except for a bit of minor whiplash, and a few scrapes on our bumper,” wrote the engineer. “The other vehicle wasn’t so lucky; its entire front bumper fell off.”
The blog post was accompanied by a video containing the car’s sensor data, showing that the Google car came to a full stop at an intersection before being rammed by a vehicle estimated to have been travelling at 17 mph.
California regulations state that any companies test-driving automatic vehicles must have a human behind the wheel to take control if needed, and companies developing such technology are required to file a report to the state DMV within 10 days of a crash. DMV spokeswoman Jessica Gonzalez noted that the employees of the technology giant did file a report, however she was surprised that info regarding the first injury-causing crash took this long to be released to the public, saying that previous media reports detailing the incident must have gotten the account from Google directly.
Perhaps the company withheld this data because of how small the collision was. In fact, no crash report was written by Mountain View police, and the incident was later reclassified as a ‘non-injury’ crash accord police spokesperson Shino Tanaka. For crashes falling under this category, a report write-up is not necessary – it is up to the people involved if they would like one to be or not.