Robot wars: Rival self-driving cars in highway near-miss

26/06/2015

A chance meeting between two self-driving cars resulted in in a near-miss collision in California this week, according to a news report.

Reuters reports that a self-driving Lexus operated by Google cut off a self-driving Audi run by Delphi Automotive as it was trying to change lanes.

The Google car pulled in front of the Delphi vehicle making it abandon a planned lane change.

Delphi's John Absmeier, who was travelling in the autonomous Audio at the time, said the vehicle was forced to abort changing lanes and take "appropriate action" to avoid a collision with the Google-operated car.

The incident is believed to be the first such incident involving two vehicles specially equipped for automated driving.

The vehicles involved were conventional road cars modified with lasers, radar, cameras and other sensors to help them navigate roads without a driver.

Google played down the the incident, saying early reports that the cars were involved in a "near miss" were inaccurate. It said the cars treated each other as they would any other vehicle and neither was in danger of colliding with the other.

The incident comes as Google's purpose-built self-driving cars take to California highways to see how well they mix with regular traffic.

Earlier this month, the firm admitted that its driverless cars have so far been involved in 13 accidents since they first arrived on roads six years ago - two of which occurred in the past month.

Google was keen to stress that these incidents, like the 11 before, were not the fault of the vehicle and were instead a result of human error.

"That's two incidents just in the last week where a driver rear-ended us while we were completely stopped at a light," a Google spokesperson said.

"So that brings the tally to 13 minor fender-benders in more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving, and not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident."

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