Google admits “some responsibility” after one of their self-driving cars crashed into a public bus in Mountain View, California, earlier this month.
Unexpected Sandbags Force Google Car To Think Fast
According to a report submitted to the DMV, the crash happened on February 14 when an autonomous Lexus RX450h was in the far right lane preparing to make a right turn when it encountered sandbags surrounding a manhole in the ground. The Lexus stopped to avoid the sandbags, let a few cars pass, and then tried to merge into the left lane to move around the sandbags.
“Misunderstanding” Between Bus Driver And Self-Driving Car Ends In Crash
Unfortunately, a public bus traveling at 15 m.p.h. was approaching in that left lane. According to the report, the bus was visible in the rear view mirror, but the Google car anticipated that the bus would slow and allow it to merge — while the bus driver anticipated that the car would retreat from its attempt to merge.
No one was hurt, but the car sustained damage to some sensors as well as the left front fender and wheel.
According to Google, “This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day.”
Google Takes The Blame For Crash — Sort Of
Google’s self-driving vehicles have been involved in around a dozen accidents so far, but this is the first time that they admit fault in one of the crashes. They issued a statement claiming, “we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved, there wouldn’t have been a collision. That said, our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that.”
— Jason Huber (@JasonHuberMN) March 1, 2016