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Apple’s self-driving car has first crash

Human driver was at fault, says report.

Self-driving cars may well be the future, but many people have concerns about their safety. While the idea of being driven to any given destination at the mere touch of a button is an enticing one, there’s the issue of control. Putting your life quite literally in the hands of a machine is a huge leap for the best of us.

Last week, the inevitable finally happened. One of Apple’s fleet of self-driving cars had its first real crash in Sunnyvale. While no one was injured in the incident, both cars that were involved were damaged. However, technology is apparently not to blame here.

In fact, the collision was not the fault of Apple’s car at all. That is, according to a DMV report from the state of California originally obtained by The Verge publication. The results of the report stated clearly that a person driving a Nissan Leaf accidentally ran into the back of the self-driving Lexus SUV on 24th August.

Here’s how it supposedly went down: As the Apple-branded car began to merge on the Lawrence Expressway, it was travelling at a snail’s pace of less than one MPH. The Nissan, on the other hand, was moving at around 15 MPH when it hit the back of the self-driving vehicle.

Needless, to say, both cars were moving at a remarkably slow pace, especially given that they were entering a ‘speed-way’. The report also says that the Apple car was waiting for a safe space in which it could merge before being hit by the Nissan.

The Apple vehicles began to roll out last year and there are now dozens of the cars on the road. Since the vehicles are relatively new, it was likely only a matter of time before one of them was involved in some form of traffic accident. With that in mind, the fact that this collision was not the fault of the technology is quite significant.

What’s more, previous statistics have suggested that the self-driving Google cars are safer for passengers than cars driven by people. While the Apple cars are, of course, a different breed, the same logic applies. It could be that these autonomous vehicles are actually a whole lot safer than we know. With more self-driving cars set to hit the road in coming years, only time will tell how safe they really are.

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