Apple’s self-driving car project is something of an open secret by this point, and now one of those vehicles has been involved in its first collision.
The incident happened in California, where a self-driving Lexus was moving slowly as it attempted to find an opening to merge onto a highway, Sunnyvale’s Lawrence Expressway. As it moved at approximately 1mph, it was struck by a Nissan Leaf (a popular model of electric car) which was travelling at 15mph.
Thankfully the report of the incident indicates that neither driver was harmed in the crash, according to The Verge.
Although the report indicates that the car was in “autonomous mode” when the collision occurred, it doesn’t seem as though Apple’s technology was to blame for the crash. Californian law tends to assume that the rear driver is at fault in most cases of rear-end collision, and so it’s likely that the driver of the Nissan Leaf is to blame in this instance.
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Electric vs driverless cars
However, it’s an interesting irony that the collision occurred between a self-driving car and an electric car. Both technologies are widely assumed to form key parts of the future of car travel, and yet at the moment it’s proving almost impossible to build fully autonomous cars that run entirely off batteries because of the huge power drain of modern self-driving technology.
The tech needed to allow a car to drive itself can consume as many as 2 to 4 kW of electricity, enough to power 50 to 100 laptops, claims Bloomberg. Tesla’s electric cars might be equipped with an auto-pilot mode, but this is far from the full autonomy that the industry is working towards.
This latest crash does little to shed much light on the direction of Apple’s self-driving efforts. It’s had a fleet of around 45 vehicles running since March 2018, but it’s unclear what form the final product will actually take.
Which would you rather own; a driverless car powered by gasoline, or an electric car that you can drive? Let us know @TrustedReviews.