Google has revealed the operator of one of its prototype self-driving cars was hospitalised after a recent crash - but said he had taken control of the vehicle.
The crash occurred in Mountain View, near Google's HQ, when a driver ran a red light and collided with the passenger side door of Google's modified Lexus SUV.
The firm revealed today its driver 'voluntarily went to a local hospital where he was evaluated by medical staff and released.'
'A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle traveling northbound on Phyllis Ave. in Mountain View in manual mode was involved in an accident,' the firm said today.
'As the Google AV proceeded through a green light at the El Camino Real intersection, its autonomous technology detected another vehicle traveling westbound on El Camino Real approaching the intersection at 30 mph and began to apply the Google AV’s brakes in anticipation that the other vehicle would run through the red light.
'The Google AV test driver then disengaged the autonomous technology and took manual control of the Google AV. Immediately thereafter, the other vehicle ran through the red light and collided with the right side of the Google AV at 30 mph.
'At the time of collision, the Google AV was traveling at 22 mph.' The Google car sustained substantial damage to its front and rear passenger doors, the firm said, while the other vehicle sustained significant damage to its front end.
There were no injuries reported at the scene by either party. 'However, the Google AV test driver later voluntarily went to a local hospital where he was evaluated by medical staff and released,' the firm said.
Since Google began testing its self-driving cars in 2012, the autonomous vehicles have been involved in a number of crashes.
Most of these have been minor and at low speeds, so have not caused significant damage to either the car or the person at the wheel.
Due to regulations, the self-driving vehicles must have a person sitting at the steering wheel, to take over in case the car malfunctions. This is not the first time a Google self-driving car has been involved in an accident.
Speaking to KBCW, James Allen, who witnessed the crash, said: 'I've never seen one in an accident and I see at least 30 to 40 a day. 'They're very good cars, that's why I was so shocked.'
The cars are limited to 25 miles per hour, so have on several occasions been rear-ended when driving slowly, or when waiting at a junction.
A Google spokesperson told 9to5Google: 'Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection.
'Thousands of crashes happen every day on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US. Human error plays a role in 94 per cent of these crashes, which is why we're developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.'
Google's autonomous cars have covered over two million miles to date. But they have also been involved in around 25 accidents, with only one – a collision with a bus – being the fault of the self-driving car.