Google has finally accepted “some responsibility” for an accident involving its self-driving cars. On Monday, the search giant said it bears “some responsibility” after one of its cars ran into a municipal bus earlier this month.
Google accepts fault
On Monday, Google said in a statement: “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.”
In a report filed with California regulators on Feb. 23, the Internet firm reported that the crash took place in Mountain View on Feb. 14 when one of its self-driving Lexus cars tried to get around some sandbags in a wide lane. The filing says the car was traveling at less than 2 miles per hour, and the bus was traveling at 15 miles per hour. The test driver believed that the bus “would slow or allow the Google (autonomous vehicle) to continue.”
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However, after three seconds, when the car re-entered the center of the lane in autonomous mode, it crashed into the side of the bus, damaging the left front fender, front wheel and a driver side sensor. Luckily, no one was injured.
Software updated to prevent similar situations in the future
Google said it updated its software after the crash to prevent future incidents. The incident is seen as the first case in which the fault is that of the self-driving car. Previously, the internet firm said its robo-cars have never been at fault in any crashes.
The company said it had examined the crash and “thousands of variations on it in our simulator in detail and made refinements to our software. 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.”
According to the Mountain View Police Department, no report has been filed in the incident. On Monday, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said they will investigate the circumstances of the accident. Ross said that the crash resulted in minor damages to the bus. After the crash, the passengers on the bus were moved to another bus. Ross added that an investigation for zeroing in on liability is in process.