Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: Steve Jurvetson | posted March 01, 2016 08:14
Google self-driving car gets into collision
Google, along with several automakers, have been pushing the boundaries of motoring and part of that is developing autonomous vehicle technology with the goal of making driving safer and more efficient.
Well, like everything else, it is a work in progress.
An incident report has been released by the California Department of Motor Vehicles regarding an accident involving a Google self-driving vehicle and a bus on El Camino Real in Mountain View City. This is so far the 10th traffic involving a Google self-driving vehicle.
With a test driver inside but travelling on autonomous mode, the Google self-driving 2012 Lexus RX 450h approached an intersection with the intention of making a right turn.
It made all the right moves including getting on the rightmost lane and passing cars on its left that were preparing to go straight thru the intersection.
Before the right turn, the Google autonomous vehicle (Google AV) sensed sandbags situated near a storm drain blocking its path.
It stopped and as the traffic light turned green, allowed all the vehicles on its left to pass before attempting to merge with the center lane to avoid the sandbags before negotiating the right turn.
As it was turning into the center lane, the test driver saw an approaching public transit bus from behind but left the decision-making to the autonomous system.
The bus was travelling approximately 24 kilometers per hour while the Google AV at 3 kilometers per hour.
According to the DMV report "Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus" sustaining damage on the left front fender and wheel along with damaged sensors on the driver’s side.
No one was reported hurt or injured from the accident, save maybe a little bit of Google pride.
In a statement the search engine giant admitted that "believed the bus would slow or allow the Google (autonomous vehicle) to continue" and continued on to state that they bear "some responsibility," because if their car hadn't moved, "there wouldn't have been a collision."