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Google self-driving car involved in its first 'accident' with injuries

In a blog posted Thursday, the head of Google's self-driving car program, Chris Urmson, wrote that his SUVs "are being hit surprisingly often" by distracted drivers, perhaps people looking at their phones.

"The clear theme is human error and inattention," Urmson wrote. "We'll take all this as a signal that we're starting to compare favorably with human drivers.">>

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Distracted drivers need a Google vehicle!

The vehicle was pulled over by an officer of the LAPD after the officer noticed the vehicle driving erratically.

The vehicle failed a breathalyzer test, was driving on an expired license, didn't have evidence of liability insurance, was observed to be changing lanes in a careless manner without using turn signals and wasn't wearing a set belt. 

The officer making the stop observed incoherent and disjointed images on the vehicle's display console and noted a trace odor of cannabis in his report. A court date is schedule for August 21. 

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The fact that the crashes, thus far, have all been caused by humans running their cars into the automated Google cars, rather than computer-driven vehicles running amok, starts to make the robots seem like better drivers than us. The flip side is the latest news that some Chrysler cars, like Jeeps, can be remotely hacked via the 'net and lose all manual control from inside the car.

Looking at SDCs from another angle-- what if the police want one to pull over?

(close the ad in the upper right corner.)

Not sure why police would want to pull one over if the car is already obeying the law. Could you even call those distracted passengers drivers?

And here we go again:

I once read a coffee table book that outlined how the auto makers went on a huge kick marketing safety features in the late 50s/early 60s, ultimately to conclude that car buyers didn't give a whoop about safety and just wanted the powerful feeling of being "in control" of a bunch of horsepower more than anything.  I won't be one bit surprised if they get their self-driving cars to market only to discover nobody wants one.

Maybe the free market is a bad idea 

Robot cars are indisputably better than human drivers but worse than building public transit infrastructure. 

On this topic:  MIT Technology Review, Why Self-Driving Cars Must Be Programmed to Kill.

No-win scenarios. Who does the car choose? Occupants, pedestrians, cyclists?

If in doubt, stop.  Except to evade a 2X larger vehicle that can't stop in time.



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