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Delphi Car and Google Car Near Miss Actually Not Close

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There were a few stories last week prompted by a Reuters article about a near miss between a Delphi self-driving car and Google’s self driving car.

The original story reported that it was a “close call” when the Delphi Audi Q5 was preparing to change lanes but then the Google Lexus moved into the open lane first. The Delphi car aborted the lane change and there was no collision.

When I read the original article, I was trying to figure out why they considered this a close call. From the article, they described a very common occurrence when driving – I know I’ve run into this situation many times. Someone moves into the open lane as you are preparing to move there, leading you to have to not change lanes. As it turns out, Delphi clarified that there was no close call and that both cars operated exactly as a self driving car should.

In fact, yesterday, Reuters published an update as Delphi clarified that the cars were not close to hitting each other.

I think Google’s brief statement from yesterday sums it up: “two self-driving cars did what they were supposed to do in an ordinary everyday driving scenario.”

I’m not sure the clarification will get as many headlines as the original story, but from my point of view, this type of event shows that self driving vehicles can handle potentially complex driving situations. There are probably times where human drivers have gotten into accidents under similar circumstances because they were not able to see the car switching lanes.

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