Google’s self-driving car T-boned by a reckless driver in California

Google self-driving Lexus
The Google car can drive itself in a wide variety of situations, but there’s not a whole lot it can do to avoid reckless drivers. One of the tech giant’s autonomous Lexus RX450h crossovers was recently T-boned by a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van in Mountain View, California.

The monthly report that tracks the progress of Google’s self-driving program explains the RX450h was operating in manual mode at the time of the accident. As it proceeded through a green light, the crossover’s autonomous tech — which goes on standby but never truly shuts off — detected that a vehicle was approaching the intersection.

Google’s Lexus autonomous applied the brakes when it realized the van was about to run a red light and collide with it. The driver quickly came to the same conclusion, so he disengaged the autonomous tech and took full manual control of the vehicle in an attempt to avoid the crash. It was too little, too late, and the Sprinter rammed into the RX450. The accident report explains the van was traveling at roughly 30 mph when it hit the Lexus, which was going precisely 22 mph.

Luckily, no injuries were reported. The driver of Google’s prototype voluntarily checked himself into the hospital after the crash, but he was quickly released. The RX450h was totaled, however, because it sustained significant damage on the passenger side. Google’s report notes the Sprinter’s front end is substantially damaged.

Google stresses that the accident wasn’t the fault of the car or the driver, and that the technology worked the way it was designed to. Erik Coelingh, Volvo’s senior technical leader, recently explained to Digital Trends that self-driving cars aren’t able to swerve or make emergency maneuvers. If a collision is imminent, the best a self-driving car can do is to slam on the brakes.

Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Volvo wants to use speed limiters, in-car cameras, and data to reduce crashes

Volvo believes new tech is the best way to improve car safety. The Swedish automaker will let owners set speed limits when loaning out their cars, install cameras to monitor drivers, and use data to design better safety features.
Cars

Waymo boosts robo-taxi plans with new service center in Arizona

Waymo has announced plans for a facility in Phoenix, Arizona, that will help to service, maintain, and grow its fleet of autonomous Waymo One cars. The vehicles operate as part of the company's robo-taxi ridesharing service.
Cars

Shift it yourself: How to drive stick in a manual transmission car

Driving a manual transmission car might seem intimidating at first, but it's not as difficult as you might think. Knowing how to operate this type of gearbox will serve you well. Here's everything you need to know to learn how to drive…
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…