Company’s driverless cars chief points finger at “human error and inattention” as cause of recent California accident.
Google has blamed drivers for sending three of its employees to hospital after one of their driverless smart cars was rear-ended on July 1.
The three occupants suffered "minor whiplashes" after stopping their Lexus at a junction in Mountain View, CA, a stone’s throw away from Google’s headquarters.
In a blog post, Chris Urmson, head of Google’s driverless car project said: "After we’d stopped, a car slammed into the back of us at 17 mph – and it hadn’t braked at all."
He explained that the Lexus had stopped when the light was green because of backed up traffic on the far side. This led to three cars, including Google’s, to brake and came to a stop to avoid getting stuck in the middle of the intersection.
The smart car chief added that other drivers have hit his cars 14 times since the start of the project in 2009.
Urmson, said:" Our self-driving cars are being hit surprisingly often by other drivers who are distracted and not paying attention to the road.
"The clear theme is human error and inattention. We will take all this as a signal that we are starting to compare favourably with human drivers.
The head of the department asked driver to keep your eyes on the road, as they get behind the wheel this summer.