Google self driving car records it’s first crash

So far Google’s self driving cars has been doing well with an impressive driving record. But on February 14th that changed when an autonomously-driven Google Lexus drove into the side of a bus.

The accident report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles contained details of the incident and has been made public, Google, accepting some blame disclosed that its autonomous car had caused a crash.

In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision.

According to the report;

A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle was traveling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand lane approaching the Castro St. intersection. As the Google AV approached the intersection, it signaled its intent to make a right turn on red onto Castro St. The Google AV then moved to the right-hand side of the lane to pass traffic in the same lane that was stopped at the intersection and proceeding straight. However, the Google AV had to come to a stop and go around sandbags positioned around a storm drain that were blocking its path. When the light turned green, traffic in the lane continued past the Google AV. After a few cars had passed, the Google AV began to proceed back into the center of the lane to pass the sand bags. A public transit bus was approaching from behind. The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was traveling at about 15 mph at the time of contact.

The Google AV sustained body damage to the left front fender, the left front wheel and one of its driver’s -side sensors.

No injuries was reported at the scene, yet not everyone is taking it likely with the internet company.

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.

John Simpson
Consumer Watchdog privacy project director

“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.”

This is far from what the company needs as of now especially after a legal breakthrough for the self-driving project – the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Google it would likely give the autonomous car the same legal treatment as a human driver.

Though Google accepts some responsibility for this, it still maintains that the accident resulted from the actions of humans and not its technology and has promised to refine its self-driving algorithm.

“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.”

What do you think? Should we expect self driving cars this year?

Google is an American multinational technology company founded on the 4th of September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D students at Stanford University. The company specializes in Internet-related services and products such as online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Most of the company’s profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results. Google’s headquarters is in Mountain View, California, the “Googleplex”. Google self-driving car is any in a range of autonomous cars, developed by Google X as part of its project to develop technology for mainly electric cars. The software installed in Google’s cars is named Google Chauffeur. Lettering on the side of each car identifies it as a “self-driving car”.

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