Police: Google Street View car went wrong way, caused crash

In Arkansas, a Street View driver is cited for careless or prohibited driving after getting his bearings wrong.

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Be careful. They're still driven by humans. Aaron Stutts/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When those that are supposed to show you the way lose their own, it's a veritable crisis.

There is something painful, therefore, in recording an unfortunate incident that took place on Wednesday in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Twenty-nine-year-old Alexander Spurr became, police say, slightly disorientated as he drove along Tyler Street. He allegedly drove the wrong way down it, causing some consternation.

In his haste to rectify his direction, he allegedly did a U-turn, tried to merge onto Cantrell Road, and ended up swiping another car from the side.

You might think this was just an everyday traffic mishap, perhaps caused by minor inattention. Spurr, however, was driving a Google Street View car, so one imagined he might have known where to go.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette offers that he was given a citation for careless or prohibited driving. Moreover, the driver in the other car, 22-year-old Dylan Case, claims that Spurr ran a red light.

Given that Case was taken to the ER, suffering some discomfort in his neck, back, and ribs -- as well as a reported $2,000 worth of damage to his car -- some of his words in reaction aren't surprising.

He mused: "Something better come out of Google's pocket for this."

I have contacted Google to ask what insurance arrangements are offered to its Street View drivers and will update, should I hear.

Last year, a Street View driver in Indonesia was accused of completely losing his way and smashing into three different vehicles and then fleeing the scene.

In the future, of course, Street View cars will be self-driving. It will be a fascinating and peculiar day when a robot loses its bearings and causes a touch of mayhem.

Who will appear in an eventual court case? The engineer who designed it?

 

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