Google self driving car crashes into a bus
This is the first time Google has admitted that their autonomous vehicles bear some responsibility. The crash occurred in El Camino Real, close to Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California.
According to the report made in February 23rd made by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority of California, Google’s expensive Lexus RX450h SUV hit a municipal bus on the fender bender pivoting joint right at the middle-right side of the articulated bus.
The autonomous vehicle was preparing to turn right, when it started the maneuver it couldn’t steer smoothly as there were sandbags on the storm lane, the vehicle harshly turned right into the middle of the lane, thus hitting the huge bus that was approaching it from behind that was travelling at a speed of 15mph (about 24km/h).
According to the test driver (supervisor occupying the vehicle without driving it) the sensors of the self-driving SUV did actually detect the bus coming, however it seemed like the vehicle’s priority was purely avoiding the obstacle and that the bus was going to slow down or stop. After the incident, a spokesman for Google said:
“We’ve now reviewed this incident (and thousands of variations on it) in our simulator in detail and made refinements to our software. From now on, our cars will more deeply understand that buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles, and we hope to handle situations like this more gracefully in the future.”
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority made it clear that this wasn’t the first time that test drives performed by Google have ended in crashes. After Google asked permission to make the test drives in the El Camino Real area, an undisclosed number of incidents have already been reported. John Simpson, project director of The Consumer Watchdog group stated:
“This accident is more proof that robot car technology is not ready for auto pilot and a human driver needs to be able to take over when something goes wrong. The police should be called to the site of every robot car crash and all technical data and video associated with the accident must be made public.”