MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Google said on Monday the company bears “some responsibility” after one of its autonomous cars hit a municipal bus in a minor accident on Feb. 14, Reuters reported. The Alphabet Inc.’s firm said it has updated its software to prevent future incidents.
The Internet search leader and tech giant filed a report with California regulators on Feb. 23, saying the crash occurred in Mountain View when a self-driving Lexus RX450h sought to get around some sandbags in a wide lane, as reported by Reuters.
The filing says that the autonomous car was driving at less than 2 miles per hour, whereas the municipal bus was traveling at about 15 miles per hour. The test driver and the vehicle thought the bus would slow or stop to let the car continue, the document states.
However, three seconds later the Google car, which was in autonomous mode, re-entered the center of the lane and accidentally hit the side of the bus. The car caused damage to the front wheel, a driver side sensor, and the left front fender. No one got hurt.
The tech titan is determined to learn from the incident but argues its autonomous car did not fail
Google said in a statement on Monday that it does bear “some responsibility” because there would not have been a crash if the self-driving car had not moved. The company remarked that it has been reviewing the incident in detail.
“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 stated.
California authorities have not determined fault in the crash and the Mountain View Police Department told Reuters that no police report was filed in the minor accident. Stacey Hendler Ross, spokeswoman for the authority responsible for operating municipal buses in that area, confirmed the crash happened but said she did not have further information.
Google has repeatedly affirmed that its self-driving cars have never been at fault in any of the 17 minor accidents during the six years of its self-driving project, which have resulted in more than two million miles of autonomous and manual driving combined.
The incident comes as the firm has been trying to make authorities understand that it should be allowed to perform tests without the need for steering wheels and other types of controls. Google criticized California in December for proposing regulations that would require the firm to test its self-driving vehicles with a steering wheel, throttle, and brake pedals when moving on public roads.