On Valentine’s Day, the inevitable happened to Google as one of its self-driving Lexuses was involved in a low-speed crash with a city bus, and thanks to video obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, we can see what that crash looked like.
As car crash video goes, it’s not exactly the most thrilling, but it’s important to confirm who exactly is at fault — even if Google has already accepted some of the blame.
The on-board video shows the white Lexus veer into the right side of the bus as the passengers and driver look understandably shocked. Everyone has to exit to the front of the bus as the driver calls in the accident before checking for damages, which included a busted Lexus fender and Google sensor, as well as some scrapes across the side of the bus and a piece of the fender lodged in the middle boarding door. No one was hurt during the accident.
As Google has detailed in the past, the root of the accident was caused by a series of assumptions of the part of the bus driver and Google’s program. Google’s car was stopped in the right lane and was attempting to get around sandbags surrounding a storm drain blocking its path. The bus driver, operating in the middle lane, thought the Lexus would stay put, while Google’s program thought the bus would slow down, leading to false assumptions on both parties.
Here’s the official accident report:
Google has already accepted some of the blame and wrote, “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.”
Still, watching the video really drives home the point that we are maybe further away than we thought from accepting fully driver-less cars on the road, when an SUV can’t correct itself from running into a bus.