Google’s map services are increasing important for drivers — particularly after the company scooped up smart navigation service Waze for more than one billion dollars — but thousands of miles from its Mountain View headquarters, a car from its Street View project was involved in not one but two road crashes.
A Google car was collecting data for Street View in Bogor, Indonesia, when it hit a public minivan, the BBC reports.
The Google staffer driving the Subaru, which sports the classic Street View mounted camera, accompanied the minivan driver to a repair shop, but, apparently concerned at the prospect of a bill to foot the damage (estimated at 200,000 rupiah, or around $17.50) and the bus driver’s angry reaction, he fled the scene.
Here’s where things get a little crazy.
- Fleeing the repair shop, the Street View car drove two miles further — presumably in a panic — before bumping into a second minivan.
- He continued on before crashing into a third (this time parked) vehicle, which reports suggest was a van or truck, after which he gave himself up to the first bus driver who had given pursuit.
It’s said that no-one was hurt, but, as you can see, the car itself sustained quite a lot of damage — a number of prominent dents, a smashed front windscreen and a barely-attached front bumper:
The rear of the vehicle was comparatively unaffected:
Vishnu Mahmud, Google’s head of communications in Indonesia, confirmed the incident in a statement to the AFP:
We take incidents like this very seriously. We’re working closely with local authorities to address the situation.
Google launched Street View in Indonesia in November 2012. Given the country’s geography — which includes a vast number of islands — it is arguably one of the most challenging places to map, certainly in Asia.
Street View cars have courted controversy in the past.
The company was accused of running over a donkey in Botswana earlier this year — something it went on record to deny — while Street View driver boo-boos have included crashing into bridge near Pittsburgh.
Just last month, a Google Street View car was stopped in rural Thailand where locals reportedly detained the driver for a number of hours on the suspicion that he was a government spy.