MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS) — It’s probably happened to you before; you’re trying to merge into another lane when another driver takes a more aggressive path. Evasive action is taken to avoid a collision and a few choice words might be exchanged or or the drivers honk their horns.

This time both vehicles involved were driverless cars— one owned by Delphi, operating an Audi Crossover SUV, and the other, owned by Google, operating a Lexus SUV.

Reuters reported a near collision earlier between the two vehicles this week in Mountain View on San Antonio Road. Google later denied the report and a representative for Delphi said the report of the Audi getting cut off by the Lexus was taken out of context.

John Leonard, an MIT mechanical engineering professor and autonomous car expert, said it’s not such a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

“When you turn robots loose in the real world lots of unexpected things can happen,” he said.

Leonard calls this progress and a teachable moment for those on board computers and the technicians who are tinkering with them.

“The challenge is for Google and Delphi to make software that is robust to handling the unexpected. In this situation it looks like they did the right thing,” he said.

Google has begun its first testing on public roads this week.

One big glaring issue is that there have been 12 reported accidents involving these carts in the past several months.

Google maintains that most of those were due to human error or the humans driving the other cars.

Comments