A Google driverless car collided with a public bus in Mountain View, California. This is the first time that a Google car has met with an accident in the autonomous mode, refuelling the debate about the success and safety of such vehicles. Google later accepted responsibility for the incident, assuring it will bring the necessary modification to its software.
On 14 February, Google's self-driving Lexus RX450h brushed against the side of a public bus causing "damage to the left front fender, the left front wheel and one of its driver's-side sensors" of the Google car.
According to California DMV report: "A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle ("Google AV") was travelling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand lane approaching the Castro St. intersection... Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the centre of the road, it made contact with the side of the bus. "
Although the Google AV was moving at less than 2mph, the bus was travelling at about 15mph and the Google car noticed the approaching bus from its left mirror, it assumed that the bus would move past or slow down, while the car was changing the lane moving to the centre, trying to get around a sandbag in the road.
There was no injury to the bus passengers, and all the 15 passengers were transferred to another bus.
Last year, the company, took its autonomous cars on public roads after test driving the vehicle for more than one million miles. The vehicle has been involved in more than 11 accidents in the past. However, each time Google claimed they were all "minor accidents" and "none was the fault of the cars" or "human involvement" in driving the car.
The tech giant is finally acknowledging responsibility for this latest incident and has confirmed that Google's car was at fault, and it would look into the software for required rectifications. The software that rides on artificial intelligence, is said to be equivalent to 75 years of driving experience.
"We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved, there wouldn't have been a collision. 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," Google said in a statement to Reuters.
Last month, the department of transport that amended the road safety norms for Google's car, identifying the software-driven vehicle as a veritable driver of the vehicle.