Google, Delphi Deny Self-Driving Cars Nearly Collided

(Los Angeles Times/TNS) —

Google and Delphi Automotive are denying a news report that their self-driving cars nearly collided on the streets of Palo Alto, Calif., last week.

“It was not a close call,” Delphi spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said in an email. “The vehicles did not come within a lane width of each other.”

According to Reuters, a Delphi prototype Audi Q5 crossover vehicle was preparing to change lanes when a Google self-driving prototype Lexus RX400h crossover cut off the Audi, forcing it to “abort the lane change.”

Reuters said no collision took place, and that the car “took appropriate action,” according to John Absmeier, director of Delphi’s Silicon Valley lab and global business director for the company’s automated driving program, who was a passenger.

Delphi is a major auto-parts supplier that is pushing into the systems that control self-driving cars.

Kinley said the scenario described to Reuters by Absmeier was an interaction “we encounter all the time in real-world driving situations.”

“It was a lane change maneuver where both cars began their execution at the same time,” she said. “Both vehicles did exactly what they were supposed to do. The Reuters story misrepresented the facts by characterizing this every-day interaction as a ‘close call.’ ”

In a statement, Google said, “The headline here is that two self-driving cars did what they were supposed to do in an ordinary everyday driving scenario.”

A week ago, California state officials released reports detailing six accidents involving self-driving cars. Most of the cars were in self-driving mode when the accidents occurred, according to the reports, but the other drivers caused the accidents. No one was injured in any of the accidents.

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