New Video Captures Driverless Car Getting in Accident on Highway

February 2, 2018 Updated: February 2, 2018

New footage shows a driverless car getting in an accident on a highway in California.

The car had five passengers, three members of the blog TechCrunch and two members of the Phantom AI team behind the vehicle.

The driverless vehicle was being tested by the group on Jan. 30, traveling south on Bayshore Freeway near Millbrae when the accident happened, shocking everyone inside.

The test was meant to demonstrate the Phantom AI’s team new partially autonomous system, “designed to maintain lane position, maintain distance between itself and vehicles ahead, and switch lanes automatically once directed using the turning indicator,” according to TechCrunch.

The system was engaged and the vehicle was traveling around 65 miles per hour when a pickup truck dropped a garbage bin from its cargo bed onto the roadway.

The car in front of the driverless car slammed to a stop but the driverless car didn’t react in time despite being partially controlled by the man in the driver’s seat.

The car had been slowed to 20 miles per hour when the crash took place.

The automatic braking system would’ve normally engaged before the crash, according to the Phantom AI team, but it was disabled for the demo because it had been throwing too many false positives.

Indeed, the team claimed that it was the driver’s fault and that the AI would have reacted in time.

“In hindsight, we should’ve enabled our emergency braking functionality, as this would’ve been a rare opportunity to test/demonstrate our automated braking system, which would’ve braked harder than the human driver. What happened was an unfortunate minor incident that we had a human driving error which had we enabled our full system, could have been avoided,” said Phantom.

That was no solace to the group, which was “a little rattled and confused following the collision,” the TechCrunch writer said.

According to its website, Phantom AI provides “key solutions for autonomous vehicles.”


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Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber