It was bound to happen. Technology takes time to perfect, but it seems that the expectations are high regardless. For the first time, a driverless car was involved in an accident, and Google is putting themselves at fault. The tech is still in infancy, so it was expected they would cause an issue one of these days.
According to a report to the DMV, an accident took place on February 14th, when a Google SUV autonomous car got a little too close to a public bus. Apparently, the accident was minor, and most of the damage was suffered by the self-driving vehicle. So, thankfully, no one was hurt, neither the fifteen passengers of the bur nor the Google ‘driver’.
The cause was one of the many reasons why we see traffic accidents on our streets today. The cars misconstrued each other’s intentions, thinking one would yield over the other and neither did.
Google’s SUV was driving down the right side of the lane, close to the curb. It’s a highly important aspect, considering their self-driving cars go at a speed of 2 miles per hour during testing. Imagine being stuck behind that in traffic. Google has made it clear that they do not want their futuristic tech to become an annoyance on the road. So, they are teaching their cars how to keep next to the sidewalk to avoid that sort of conflict.
However, as the driverless car moved down El Camino Real, it was met with an obstacle. There were sandbags around the drain, blocking the right lane. Thus, the car was forced to switch lanes, with a very slow maneuver to move to the left. Unfortunately for it, there was a public bus who had already claimed that lane. The car interpreted that since it was ahead of the bus, that there was no danger in just going for the switch. However, the bus didn’t yield, the Google SUV tried to move into its lane, and an accident occurred.
According to the report, the driverless car saw to minor damage to its left front bumper, which includes one of its many sensors.
And since self-driving cars never actually come without a human to assist them just in case of these situations, the man on board was questioned. He stated that he believed the bus would yield, but it did not. It was a mere misinterpretation of each other’s intentions, and it’s happening on the streets every single day. Human drivers are not perfect, so we probably shouldn’t expect driverless cars to be either. At least not yet.
So far, it’s unlikely that Google does not have the money to pay a fine for a fender bender.
Image source: 9to5google.files.wordpress.com