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  • Google self-driving car bears 'some responsibility' in accident for first time ever
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    Though Google's automated vehicles have been involved in a handful of minor accidents on the road, those were all caused entirely by other, human drivers. But that changed with an accident in California earlier this month.



    The incident was revealed in documents filed with the California Department of Motor Vehiclesm unearthed by by Re/code on Monday. They reveal that a self-driving Lexus RX450h hit a municipal bus in Mountain View.

    The DMV's accident report states that the self-driving Lexus was attempting to merge back into traffic and avoid some sandbags on the road in front of a storm drain. The Google-controlled vehicle apparently saw the bus in its rear view mirror and assumed it would stop or slow down, but instead, it kept going.

    In all, it was a low-speed accident: Google's vehicle was moving at just 2 miles per hour, while the city bus was traveling at 15 miles per hour. There were no injuries, and the report only made mention of damage sustained by Google's car.

    After news of the crash surfaced online, Google offered its own account of the accident, saying that similar incidents happen "between human drivers on the road every day."

    "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," the company said. "In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision. That said, our test driver believed the bust was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."



    On public roads, Google's self-driving cars were previously known to have been involved in 17 different accidents. But in each of those incidents, human drivers were said to be at fault, making the Feb. 14 incident the first time Google's vehicle can shoulder some of the blame.

    While Google's autonomous vehicle efforts are out in the open, Apple's own "Project Titan" is a secret development said to be underway not far from the company's corporate headquarters. ModMyi's own sources and research have indicated that the bulk of this development is underway in a series of buildings in the city of Sunnyvale.

    Specifically, Project Titan is said to be based out of a building known internally as "SG5." It's there that a company by the name of SixtyEight Research has been operating, prompting speculation that it could be a shell corporation used by Apple to fly under the radar.

    Reports have suggested that Apple is hoping to put its own vehicle on the road by 2019, but that the first-generation model won't be a self-driving car. Autonomous capabilities are said to be a more ambitious, longer-term goal for Apple something that could be difficult and potentially dangerous to implement, as evidenced by Google's accident in Mountain View.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Google self-driving car bears 'some responsibility' in accident for first time ever started by Caiden Spencer View original post
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      When they say "test driver", are they talking about the computer inside the car? Or there was a human being inside the self driving car?
    1. spinal_cord's Avatar
      spinal_cord -
      There is always a human standing by in the driver seat, I believe it's current law. So really, the accident was entirely human error, because the stand-by driver allowed the google car to pull out into traffic. It's no different to a regular car, same human making the same decision.
    1. HovikGas's Avatar
      HovikGas -
      So from an insurance company's perspective (say this was between two insured human drivers in regular cars), who would have been at fault? To my knowledge, if the merging driver is completely in the merged lane (and thus the collision occurred from the other car hitting it from behind), then the other driver is 100% at fault. However, if the merging driver has NOT completely merged, then the collision is determined to be 100% their fault. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case then, was the autonomous Lexus completely in the bus' lane, and the bus hit it from behind? Because if not, then I believe the Lexus would be more than just "partly to blame." From the sound of it, the Lexus turned into the lane, and was hit by the bus on its side, rather than it hitting the bus. But, as I said, that's still determined by insurance companies to be 100% at fault, even if the bus went and hit the Lexus, because the Lexus basically "cut" the bus off.
    1. vinaygoel2000's Avatar
      vinaygoel2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by HovikGas View Post
      So from an insurance company's perspective (say this was between two insured human drivers in regular cars), who would have been at fault? To my knowledge, if the merging driver is completely in the merged lane (and thus the collision occurred from the other car hitting it from behind), then the other driver is 100% at fault. However, if the merging driver has NOT completely merged, then the collision is determined to be 100% their fault. Correct me if I'm wrong, but in this case then, was the autonomous Lexus completely in the bus' lane, and the bus hit it from behind? Because if not, then I believe the Lexus would be more than just "partly to blame." From the sound of it, the Lexus turned into the lane, and was hit by the bus on its side, rather than it hitting the bus. But, as I said, that's still determined by insurance companies to be 100% at fault, even if the bus went and hit the Lexus, because the Lexus basically "cut" the bus off.
      Google already admitted fault by saying they clearly bear some responsibility.