Self-driving cars narrowly avoid California crash

Two self-driving cars owned by Google and Delphi only just escaped a collision on Californian roads earlier this week.

The near-miss took place in Palo Alto, where seven companies are currently testing autonomous vehicles.

A car from Google's fleet reportedly cut off an Audi being tested by rival Delphi Automotive during a lane change.

Delphi's vehicle took "appropriate action" to avert an accident, company executive John Absmeier, who was in the car during the encounter, told Reuters.

The news marks the first reported incident of a close call between two self-driving cars.

Google's Chris Urmson, director for the firm's driverless cars project, boasted of the vehicles' safety record in a blog post last month.

He stated that over the course of 1.7 million miles, the fleet had been involved in just 11 accidents, with none being the fault of the driverless car.

"They're ultimately designed to work without a steering wheel or pedals, but during this phase of our project we'll have safety drivers aboard with a removable steering wheel, accelerator pedal, and brake pedal that allow them to take over driving if needed", Google said in a recent blog post.

Google has reportedly taken great pains to ensure that their vehicles are as safe as possible during the testing process, capping their speed at just 25mph.

Delphi Automotive has a similar backup driver system in place, and has also reported a minor collision although the car wasn't in self-driving mode at the time, California state law still requires the company to report the incident.

Google has not commented on this week's narrow miss.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.