Rival self-driving cars suffer near-miss

A rare meeting between rival self-driving cars on a Californian road almost ended in a crash, Reuters reports.

The robot cars, one made by Delphi Automotive and the other by Google, had their encounter on a busy road in Palo Alto.

The Google car reportedly pulled out in front of the Delphi vehicle. The abrupt action forcing it to abandon a lane change.

Neither car sustained any damage in the near miss.

The incident comes as Google’s purpose-built self-driving cars take to California highways to see how well they do when they mix with vehicles driven by humans.

Details of the incident were revealed by John Absmeier – director of Delphi’s autonomous car driving unit.

The vehicles involved were conventional road cars modified with lasers, radar, cameras and other sensors to help them navigate roads without a driver.

The incident occurred as the Delphi car, an Audi Q5, was preparing to change lanes. As it did so the Google car, a Lexus RX400h, abruptly moved in front of it forcing the Audi to abandon its manoeuvre.

The Delphi car coped well with the incident, said Mr Absmeier, and ‘took appropriate action’.

Google declined to comment on the near miss or the behaviour of its car.

Google and Delphi’s autonomous vehicles have been involved in several minor accidents and incidents during testing. However, before now all of those have involved the robot cars and human-driven vehicles. In almost all cases, the firms have said, the fault lay with human drivers.