Google Self-Driving Car Blamed for Crash

Bad judgment caused 2mph collision with bus
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2016 12:24 AM CST
Google Self-Driving Car Blamed for Crash
A Google self-driving Lexus drives during a demonstration in Mountain View, Calif.   (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

After six years and millions of miles of driving, one of Google's self-driving cars has become a self-crashing car. The company has admitted that a self-driving Lexus SUV bears some responsibility for a Feb. 14 crash in Mountain View, Calif., the Verge reports. But no people—or robots—were seriously harmed: According to the DMV's accident report, the vehicle encountered sandbags placed around a storm drain when it approached an intersection. When it moved one lane over, it hit the side of a bus that it had incorrectly assumed would yield. The car was only traveling around 2mph at the time of the collision, which damaged its left front fender, the left front wheel, and a sensor. The 15 bus passengers were transferred to another vehicle.

'We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved, there wouldn't have been a collision," Google said in a statement. "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." There have been other crashes involving Google cars, but this is the first time the company hasn't blamed them on human drivers, Reuters reports. The company says it has learned from the experience and adjusted its software so that its vehicles fully understand that buses 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." (More self-driving car stories.)

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