Google takes some blame in self-driving car bang-up
San Francisco, March 1
Google on Monday said that its self-driving car bore some of the blame in a recent fender-bender after making the kind of assumption a human might have made.
A Lexus car converted into an autonomous vehicle by the internet company had a low-speed collision with a transit bus on February 14 in what marked the first time that Google laid some of the responsibility for a crash on the software brains.
“This is a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving — we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements,” Google said in a February monthly report about the performance of its self-driving cars. “In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision.”
A report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles contained details of the incident.
The accident was reviewed and software modified to ‘more deeply understand’ that buses and other large vehicles are less likely to yield to the self-driving cars, according to Google.
But critics of the autonomous cars were not so forgiving.
“This accident is more proof that robot car technology is not ready for auto pilot and a human driver needs to be able to take over when something goes wrong,” Consumer Watchdog Privacy Project Director John Simpson said.