Human blamed in Google’s ‘driverless car’ fender bender

Humans like to blame computers for their mistakes. It’s the “dog ate my homework” excuse of the digital age.

Prius smashes Prius while vegetarians watch. Just a typical day in California. (from Jalopnik)

Prius on Prius crime is a real problem in California. (from Jalopnik)

Search giant Google is turning that notion on its head, though, after its famed ‘driverless car’ was involved in a minor accident earlier this month.

Google says the car’s human occupant is to blame for the wreck, which included five cars. No injuries were reported.

“Safety is our top priority. One of our goals is to prevent fender-benders like this one, which occurred while a person was manually driving the car,” a Google spokesperson told Business Insider.

Initially it was reported the computerized car caused the accident, but Google released a statement saying the human occupant was manually driving when he rear-ended another Prius near the company’s Mountain View, Ca., headquarters.

Various tech blogs have been on the story like LulzSec on an open port on a Pentagon computer. You can almost hear the disappointment (or is it disbelief?) in the article on Jalopnik. They seem to be rooting for Google’s failure like Steve Jobs.

Is Google lying? I doubt it. There seems to have been plenty of witnesses.

But the day a driverless car finally does wreck, there’s going to be a very confused cop writing up the police report. I’m guessing they don’t teach that at the police academy.

Perhaps more troubling: If a driverless car has a human driver … can we really call it a driverless car?

15 comments Add your comment

Dave in Marietta

August 9th, 2011
10:11 am

Google is steadily becoming a hubristic behemoth that will end up collapsing under its own weight.


August 9th, 2011
11:57 am

Or its servers will become self aware and kill us all Skynet style. Where’s John Conner when you need him?


August 9th, 2011
12:46 pm

“steadily becoming a hubristic behemoth that will end up collapsing under its own weight.”

Like the United States?


August 9th, 2011
12:52 pm

I’ll be glad when computers learn to drive. I’m tired of driving my pc and its little friends everywhere they want to go.

Ryan Donald

August 9th, 2011
1:32 pm


Responsible Driver

August 9th, 2011
1:36 pm

I drive Atlanta’s roads daily… this is NOT the first driverless car. There are hundreds of thousands of them on the highways and sidestreets around town, most seem to be centered around Cobb County.

Frequent Flyer

August 9th, 2011
1:44 pm

It’s Obamas fault!


August 9th, 2011
1:46 pm

@responsible driver-I live in Cobb and I think you are confusing driverless car with brainless driver.

Barack Obama

August 9th, 2011
2:07 pm

No, It’s George Bush’s fault.

George Bush

August 9th, 2011
2:30 pm

NO…It’s George Clinton’s fault. Oh, wait…I meant Bill Clinton.

Atomic dog!…lol

Richard Nixon

August 9th, 2011
4:52 pm

It’s all of your faults. I am not a crook. Get off of my lawn.

P.S. Boo!

George Clinton

August 9th, 2011
8:19 pm

Bow wow wow, yippy yo, yippy yay.

Check Your Facts

August 10th, 2011
12:25 pm

Both in the comments here and in the Jalopnik article, it surprises me how often uninformed people go off on a rant and start pointing fingers. (Jalopnik…I am disapoint.) It has been pointed out in more than one place that the “driverless” Google vehicle was being MANUALY controlled at the time of the accident by a human DRIVER. This makes the accident like any other and has nothing to do with Google other than some of thier equipment is on board. What it really proves is that the “driver” in question maybe should have had google at the wheel instead.

Femo Budlie

August 17th, 2011
8:25 pm

Do you think Google is the reason why NyQuil with a Luden’s Cough Drop chaser tastes so good??

Femo Budlie

August 17th, 2011
8:32 pm

Do you think that Google is the reason why a NyQuil and Absinthe tonic is so good??