Dear humans, please stop crashing into Google's self-driving cars

Google wants you to stop crashing into its self-driving cars, please

Google's self-driving cars have been travelling the roads of America for six years, and during that time they've been involved in 14 collisions with other vehicles, according to Chris Urmson - the head of the search giant's autonomous vehicle program.

In the latest incident, however, something new happened - people got hurt. Three Google employees that were onboard went to hospital with minor whiplash, though they were cleared to go back to work shortly after. The driver of the other car also complained of neck and back pain.

According to Urmson, the crash wasn't Google's fault - it was rear-ended at a traffic light. "It seems like the driver was distracted and not watching the road ahead," he wrote in a blog post on Medium. In fact, he claims, not a single one of the crashes that Google's cars have been involved in have been Google's fault.

Clear theme

"Instead, the clear theme is human error and inattention," he said. "We'll take all this as a signal that we're starting to compare favorably with human drivers."

Being Google, of course, the company took the opportunity to gather more data for its calculations of the crashes-per-miles-driven rate. "It's looking higher than we thought," Urmson wrote. "We're getting hit more often now that the majority of our driving is on surface streets rather than freeways; this is exactly where you'd expect a lot of minor, usually-unreported collisions to happen."

He adds a plea to the world's drivers: "Please, as you get behind the wheel this summer, keep your eyes on the road. The fight to end distracted driving starts with each of us — at least until that day when you can summon a self-driving car and just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride."

Duncan Geere
Duncan Geere is TechRadar's science writer. Every day he finds the most interesting science news and explains why you should care. You can read more of his stories here, and you can find him on Twitter under the handle @duncangeere.