Google’s Self-Driving Car Gets into Accident

September 15, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. prototype /ˈproʊ təˌtaɪp/ (n.) – the first model from which copies are based from
Example: The company is still developing the prototype of the robot.

2. rear-end /ˈrɪərˈɛnd/ (v.) – to drive or crash into the back of a car
Example: My car got rear-ended by the black taxi.

3. damage /ˈdæm ɪdʒ/ (n.) – physical harm that affects something or someone’s body
Example: My cellphone received little damage when I accidentally dropped it.

4. severity /səˈvɛr ɪ ti/ (n.) – the state of being very bad or serious
Example: The severity of the storm prevented us from leaving the house.

5. transition /trænˈzɪʃ ən/ (v.) – to change from one form to another
Example: The company was able to transition from a startup to an industry leader very quickly.


Read the text below.
Google’s self-driving vehicle recently got into an accident that has, for the first time, caused injury to its passengers.

On July 1, one of Google’s self-driving car prototypes got into an accident during a test drive. The self-driving Lexus SUV was rear-ended at Mountain View, where Googleplex, Google’s headquarters, is located. The employees went to the hospital for minor injuries but checked out on the same day.

According to Google, this accident is the 14th one involving its self-driving cars in six years. The report filed in the California Department of Motor Vehicles stated that Google’s vehicle was not at fault.

The self-driving car was behind two cars and was moving at around 15 miles per hour during a green light. Moving towards an intersection, the cars at the front slowly stopped, and so did Google’s SUV. However, the self-driving SUV was rear-ended by the vehicle behind it, which was going around 17 miles per hour. The SUV’s rear bumper had minor damage, while the front bumper of the car behind it fell off.  

While Google’s SUV was not at fault, there are still reports saying that using self-driving cars is not safe. An article from The Fiscal Times listed some of the possible dangers of using self-driving vehicles. These include the increase in the severity of motion sickness among passengers, the possibility of hackers being able to control the vehicles, the vehicle being used by criminals, and the risk for accidents while people transition from normal cars to self-driving vehicles.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can be the advantages of self-driving cars over human drivers?
·         What can be the advantages of human drivers over self-driving cars?

Discussion B

·         In what jobs or tasks can machines replace people? Kindly discuss your answer.
·         What self-operating machines would you like to own? Please explain briefly. 

September 15, 2015