South Carolina drivers who are looking forward to driving a self-driving vehicle may be interested to learn that a Google car was partially responsible for causing a crash on Feb. 14. No one was injured in the minor accident.
According to Google, the vehicle was driving in the right lane of a California city street and preparing to make a right turn when it encountered sandbags in the lane. The vehicle attempted to merge into the center of the lane. However, a bus that was already there did not yield to the Google car. This resulted in a minor collision as the bus struck the left side of the Google car. The self-driving vehicle was only traveling about 2 mph while the bus was traveling approximately 15 mph.
Google discussed the accident in a statement. The company stated that the Google test driver assumed that the bus driver would yield to the Google vehicle, while it was likely that the bus driver assumed that the Google vehicle would yield. Google also stated that its vehicle was at least partially at fault as there would have been no accident if the self-driving vehicle had yielded to the city bus. As such, it intends to update its software to understand that larger vehicles are less likely to yield.
Even self-driving vehicles can become involved in car accidents that could result in injuries, although this is the first such incident in which the autonomous technology was to blame, according to the company. When self-driving cars become ubiquitous, personal injury attorneys might direct their focus towards the manufacturer if an accident that results in harm to others is caused by a technological flaw or malfunction.
Source: CNN Money, “Google’s Self-Driving Car at Fault in Accident“, Chris Isidore, Feb. 29, 2016