This is the first accident in which one of the autonomous cars in test that Apple has distributed in Cupertino and surroundings is involved. Fortunately no one was injured.
According to the report published to the authorities, Apple’s Lexus SUV was ready to get on a highway when it was hit from behind by a Nissan Leaf. Apple’s car was travelling at no more than 2 km per hour (the normal speed when you go to a major road), while the Nissan Leaf was travelling at almost 25 km per hour and failed to brake in time . Without an official conclusion from the authorities, everything seems to indicate that the fault lies with the Nissan Leaf, in particular the driver of this car.
Accidents like this are more than common in everyday life. A carelessness of the driver of the car behind (or a braking of the car in front) makes that we do not have time to anticipate the blow and the accident occurs. But luckily, it is also one of the types of accident that an autonomous car can most easily avoid . Proximity sensors can’t be neglected, at best they can fail, in very unlikely cases.
But what is interesting about all this is what the car in front can do if it is autonomous to avoid this kind of impact. On other occasions we have seen how autonomous cars also have evasive systems to avoid impacts in thousandths of a second, anticipating the accident even if it is not their fault . In this case, for example, a human is not always aware of the mirror, but the autonomous car does have cameras and sensors in the rear. He could see the car coming from behind and move away.
Obviously there are many more factors to consider, such as whether or not you have a space to move around. However, it will be interesting to see in the future if Apple (and the rest of the autonomous driving companies) manages to avoid more accidents than humans . Apple has so far not made any official statement apart from the report submitted to the authorities.