Google self driving car hits bus

Google self driving car hits bus

A self-driving car being tested by Google has struck a public bus on a Silicon Valley street. It is being recorded as the first time one of the tech company’s vehicles has caused an accident during testing on city roads.

Google accepted some responsibility for the collision, which occurred on Valentine’s Day, when one of the Lexus SUVs it has outfitted with sensors and cameras, hit the side of the bus. No one was injured, according to an accident report Google wrote and submitted to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

According to the accident report posted online, Google’s car intended to turn right off a major boulevard when it detected sandbags around a storm drain at the intersection.

The right lane was wide enough to let some cars turn and others go straight, but the Lexus needed to slide to its left within the right lane to get around the obstruction.

The Lexus was going 3.2km/h when it made the move and its left front struck the right side of the bus, which was going straight ahead at 24km/h.

The car’s test driver — who under state law must be in the front seat to grab the wheel when needed — thought the bus would yield and did not have control before the collision, according to Google.

While the report does not address fault, in a written statement Google says: “We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision.”

Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving car project, said in an interview that he believes the Lexus was moving before the bus started to pass.

“We saw the bus, we tracked the bus, we thought the bus was going to slow down, we started to pull out, there was some momentum involved,” Urmson says.

He acknowledged that Google’s car did have some responsibility but said it was “not black and white.” The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority says none of the 15 passengers or the driver of the bus was injured.

An internal investigation by the transit agency was ongoing and no determination of liability has been made.

There may never be a legal decision on liability, especially if damage was negligible — as both sides indicated it was — and neither Google nor the transit authority pushes the case.

Still, the collision could be the first time a Google car in autonomous mode caused a crash.

Google cars have been involved in nearly a dozen collisions, in or around Mountain View, since starting to test on city streets in the spring of 2014. In most cases, Google’s cars were rear-ended. No one has been seriously injured.

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