Self Crashing Car

Brian Silva

On February 14th, 2016, a Google self driving car collided into a bus at two mph. The car, a Lexus SUV, was attempting to take a right turn. When the Google car was going into the center lane it thought that the bus behind it would slow down or come to a stop. The result was that the front of the SUV hit the bus, damaging its own front fender and sensor. However ,no one in the bus was hurt.

This is the first time that a self driving car has been the one to crash into someone or something else. Google states that such an occurrence is, “a normal part of driving” and that they will have the software controlling the car calibrated to be prepared for similar situations. As of February 2016, their cars have driven a total of 1,452,177 miles on their own since 2009. The cars drive about 10,000-15,000 miles a week on public streets. The cars  deployed for May are 23 of the SUVs mainly operating in Mountain View, CA and nine unspecified prototypes in closed test tracks.

The self driving car project is run by Google subsidiary “X.” Using lasers, radars and cameras, X has made a round shaped sensor to connect to a computer in the car.

I asked student Alex Mootafian how he feels about driverless cars; he says he “likes the idea” and that he would “ride one.” When asking about the benefits of them, he said, “You don’t need to pay attention, less human error, and it makes life easier.” One big benefit to a self driving car is that it can drive a blind person around. This has already been shown on video.