News that a Google Street View car ran over a donkey in Botswana has made headlines today. Google flatly denies the allegation, but others aren’t so sure. We’ll take a look at this issue.
The car did not run over the donkey, and the animal was not killed.
The proof can be found when you look at all of the images in sequence.
Rear or Front Camera?
The biggest question raised is if this was shot from the front of the car or the back. If it were shot from the rear camera, then clearly the donkey was run over by the Google car. If it was filmed from the front camera, then it would appear that the car merely drove up to the animal which was already laying in the dirt. We can conclusively say that this is taken from the front camera. We’ll break it down below.
Left Side of the Road
In Botswana, driving is performed on the left side of the road. Claims that this is a rear camera would mean the driver was on the wrong side of the road.
There is a truck that passes by the animal, which is also when it appears to fall down. Some have said the truck hit the donkey, but closeups of the images clearly show that not to be the case. The truck passed near the donkey, but did not hit it. It is here that the donkey decided to take a “dust bath” after the truck passed by. The truck, however, helps us prove that the camera angle we see of the donkey is from the front of the Google car. If this were a rear camera, the truck that appears would have to be driving backwards, along with a backwards dust trail behind it.
The donkey can be standing before and after the fall, which tells us that the animal survived the incident (see video below).
There is a frame in which we see two images of the donkey, both on the ground and standing by the road. It isn’t clear why this is, unless the driver of the Google car stopped to check on the animal or if the donkey jumped up just as the car slowly passed by.
We have created a simple animation of the Google images to show that the Google car did not run over the donkey, nor did the oncoming truck. Arguments that this is from the rear camera cannot be reconciled with the direction the truck is moving.
The only explanation is that the Google car was driving on the left side of the road as a truck approached from the opposite direction. The donkey was either startled by the truck and fell over, or decided to roll in the dust. As the Google car stopped or slowly passed by, the donkey stood back up next to the road.
This is the infamous picture making the rounds online today:
Here is our animation which shows the full sequence, including a final image looking back at the donkey after it stood back up:
What do you think of this news story? Let us know in the comments below.