Citation record for Incident 71

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Anonymous. (2016-09-26) Incident Number 71. in McGregor, S. (ed.) Artificial Intelligence Incident Database. Partnership on AI. Retrieved on September 22, 2021 from incidentdatabase.ai/cite/71.

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2016-09-26

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Apple Lexus RX 450h self-driving test car rear-ended during road testing in Silicon Valley

abc.net.au · 2008

Apple Lexus RX 450h self-driving test car rear-ended during road testing in Silicon Valley

Updated

An Apple Inc self-driving car was rear-ended while merging onto an expressway near the company's Silicon Valley headquarters this month, the company said in an accident report posted on Friday (local time) that confirmed the iPhone maker is still in the race to build autonomous vehicles.

Key points: Self-driving car was rear-ended as it waited for a safe gap to merge, report reveals

Apple's car was driving under 1.6kph when it was hit by a vehicle doing about 24kph

Apple's efforts are shrouded in secrecy but the company has confirmed the veracity of the report

Apple executives have never publicly spoken about the company's self-driving car program, but filings in a criminal court case last month confirmed the company had at least 5,000 employees working on the project and it was working on circuit boards and a "proprietary chip" related to self-driving cars.

Apple is entering a crowded field where rivals such as Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit and traditional carmakers such as General Motors Co's Cruise Automation, as well as start-ups such as Silicon Valley's Zoox, are pouring billions of dollars into cars that can drive themselves.

On August 24, one of Apple's Lexus RX 450h self-driving test vehicles in "autonomous mode" was merging south on the Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale, California at less than 1.6kph when it was rear-ended by a 2016 Nissan Leaf going about 24kph, according to the report posted on the California Department of Motor Vehicles website.

The accident happened about 3pm as the Apple vehicle had slowed and was waiting for a safe gap in traffic to complete the merge, the report said.

Both vehicles sustained damage but there were no injuries, the report said. Under a safety plan filed with California regulators, a human driver must be able to take control of Apple's self-driving test cars.

An Apple spokesman confirmed the company had filed the report but did not comment further. He declined to respond to questions about whether the trailing car could have been at fault.

Safety concerns as cars tested on public roads

Apple's efforts remained shrouded in secrecy until years after its rivals like Google had begun testing on public roads. The iPhone maker's first public acknowledgement of interest in the field came in a letter to US transportation regulators in late 2016 urging them not to restrict testing of the vehicles.

Last year, Apple secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California. It has been testing cars on the road since last year and now has permits for more than 60 vehicles. Apple researchers also last year published their first public research on cars, a software system that could help spot pedestrians more readily.

The safety of self-driving cars has become a source of concern for US transportation regulators this year after one of Uber Technologies Inc's vehicles struck and killed a woman in March in Arizona, prompting the company to shut down its testing efforts for a time. Uber has said it plans to have self-driving cars back on the road by the end of the year.

The California DMV said it has received it has received 95 autonomous vehicle collision reports as of August 31. Dozens of companies have received permits to test self-driving vehicles on California roads, but those permits require the presence of a human safety driver.

Reuters

Topics: computers-and-technology, road, united-states

First posted...

Apple Lexus RX 450h self-driving test car rear-ended during road testing in Silicon Valley
Google's Self-Driving Car Hit Another Vehicle for the First Time

recode.net · 2016

Since Google’s robot cars have been on the road, they have been involved with 17 different accidents. But in those incidents, Google’s car wasn’t to blame — another car struck Google’s or the test driver behind the autonomous vehicle was at fault.

Until earlier this month. On Feb. 14, one of Google’s self-driving Lexus SUVs struck a municipal bus in Mountain View, according to documents filed with the California DMV.

According to the report, the Google car was waiting at an intersection to turn right when it encountered several sand bags blocking the lane. When the light turned green, the car moved left to avoid the bags, then struck a public bus coming from behind.

Google’s autonomous driving mode was active when the crash occurred (in other incidents, Google’s test drivers had switched on manual mode). The bus was traveling at 15 miles per hour and Google’s car was going two miles per hour. According to the report, the test driver “saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google [autonomous vehicle] to continue.” No one was injured.

Google’s self-driving car unit has repeatedly stressed that autonomous vehicles are far safer than human-piloted ones. Getting regulatory approval and consumer acceptance of driverless fleets is the key pillar to the unit’s business strategy.

It’s unclear if Google will ascribe the bus accident to an error with its driving system or simply the complexity of traffic. Very few of the thorny insurance and policy answers about how to treat robotic systems have been worked out.

We reached out to Google for additional comment. Tomorrow is the first of the month, when Google typically puts out its monthly traffic report detailing each incident involving its cars. Google said there were no accidents registered in December or January.

Update: Google released a snippet of its February self-driving car report a day early to address the bus crash. The company described the incident as something that happens “every day” on the road, but noted that Google “clearly bear[s] some responsibility.”...

Google's Self-Driving Car Hit Another Vehicle for the First Time
Google driverless car hits bus in California

telegraph.co.uk · 2016

Google said on Monday it bore "some responsibility" after one of its self-driving cars struck a bus in a minor crash earlier this month.

The accident may be the first case of one of its autonomous cars hitting another vehicle and the fault of the self-driving car. The Mountain View, California-based internet search leader said it made changes to its software after the crash to avoid future incidents.

In a report filed with California regulators, Google said the crash took place in Mountain View on February 14 when a self-driving Lexus RX450h tried to skirt around some sandbags in a wide lane.

Google said in the filing the autonomous vehicle was traveling at less than 2 miles per hour, while the bus was moving at about 15 miles per hour.

The vehicle and the test driver "believed the bus would slow or allow the Google (autonomous vehicle) to continue," it said.

But three seconds later, as the Google car in autonomous mode re-entered the centre of the lane, it struck the side of the bus, causing damage to its left front bomper, front wheel and a driver side sensor. No-one was injured in the car or on the bus.

Google said in a statement on Monday that "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 bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

Photo: AP

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority will investigate the circumstances of the accident, Stacey Hendler Ross, spokeswoman for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, said on Monday.

She said the Google car caused minor damage to the bus, striking the "pivoting joint," or flexible area in the middle of the articulated bus. After the crash, 15 passengers on the bus were transferred to another bus.

An investigation to determine liability is pending, she said.

• Google's driverless cars have needed hundreds of human interventions to stop accidents

John Simpson, privacy project director for advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, said the crash "is more proof that robot car technology is not ready for auto pilot".

A spokesman for the California Department of Motor Vehicles said on Monday it will speak to Google to gather additional information, but added "the DMV is not responsible for determining fault"....

Google driverless car hits bus in California
Google self-driving car crashes into a bus (update: statement)

engadget.com · 2016

This was a minor incident, and we're happy to report that there were no injuries. However, this might be the first instance where one of Google's self-driving cars caused an accident. If so, the Mountain View crew can no longer say it's an innocent dove on the roads -- while this wasn't a glitch, its software made a decision that led to a crash. We've reached out to Google to see if it can elaborate on what happened.

No matter what the response, it was always going to be difficult to avoid this kind of incident. Until self-driving cars can anticipate every possible road hazard, there's always a chance that they'll either be confused or make choices with unexpected (and sometimes unfortunate) consequences. However, the hope at this early stage isn't to achieve a flawless track record. Instead, it's to show that self-driving cars can be safer overall than their human-piloted counterparts.

Update: Google has provided us with its take on the incident from its February monthly report. It sees the accident as the result of that "normal part of driving" where there's mutual blame: both sides made too many assumptions. So yes, Google acknowledges that it's partly at fault for what happened. In the wake of the crash, it has already tweaked its software to accept that buses are "less likely to yield" and prevent issues like this in the future. Read the full copy below....

Google self-driving car crashes into a bus (update: statement)
Google self-driving car hits a bus

bbc.com · 2016

Image copyright AP Image caption Google cars have clocked up over one million miles on public roads

One of Google's self-driving cars crashed into a bus in California earlier this month. There were no injuries.

It is not the first time one of Google's famed self-driving cars has been involved in a crash, but it may be the first time it has caused one.

Google is to meet with California's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to discuss the incident, and determine where the blame lies.

On 14 February the car, travelling at 2mph (3km/h), pulled out in front of a public bus going 15mph (24km/h).

The human in the Google vehicle reported that he assumed the bus would slow down to let the car out, and so he did not override the car's self-driving computer.

The crash happened in Mountain View, near Google's headquarters.

In a statement, Google said: "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 bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In all previous Google self-driving car collisions other road users were to blame

The company's self-driving cars have clocked up well over a million miles across various states in the US, and until now have only reported minor "fender benders" - the American slang for a small collision.

In all of those cases, other road users were to blame.

Google releases a monthly report detailing the testing of its self-driving technology.

Ahead of the February report's publication, due Tuesday, a traffic incident filing was made public by the DMV.

A setback

"The Google AV [autonomous vehicle] test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue," the report read.

"Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was re-entering the centre of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus.

"The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and travelling at less than two mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15mph at the time of contact."

The car's movements were made more complex, the report said, by the presence of sandbags on the road.

Google said it had now refined its self-driving algorithm.

"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."

If the DMV considers the Google car to be at fault for the collision, it could be seen as a setback for the company's ambitious autonomous vehicle plans.

The bus crash came just four days after a legal breakthrough for the self-driving project - the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Google it would likely give the self-driving computer the same legal treatment as a human driver.

That decision would pave the way for self-driving cars without any typical controls, such as a steering wheel or pedals.

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC and on Facebook...

Google self-driving car hits a bus
Google accepts blame for its self-driving car causing crash

newscientist.com · 2016

AP/Press Association Images/Tony Avelar

On 14 February, the AI in charge of one of Google’s cars drove into the side of a bus. The incident – which California’s Department of Motor Vehicles documented publicly yesterday – is the first clear-cut case of an accident caused by the tech giant’s self-driving technology.

The bus was driving straight ahead on Silicon Valley’s busy El Camino Real road when Google’s Lexus SUV pulled out into its side, crushing the car’s wing. The accident report says the car sustained some damage to a wheel, bodywork and side-mounted sensors. There were no injuries.

Google’s autonomous cars have been involved in 18 accidents in Mountain View since the company started testing its self-driving systems there in 2010. In all previous accidents, however, another vehicle struck the Google car while it was either stationary or moving slowly. This is the first time that a vehicle controlled by Google’s software seems to have been at fault.

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“We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision,” said Google in a statement.

No yielding

The number 22 bus was carrying 15 passengers on a route criss-crossing Silicon Valley from Palo Alto to San Jose. The Google car stopped to avoid sandbags positioned around a storm drain, then tried to merge back into traffic in front of the bus, which was travelling at about 15 miles per hour (24 kph).

“Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it,” says Google.

A spokesperson for Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which runs public transit in the area, says that although the bus only sustained minor damage, its passengers were transferred and the vehicle was removed from service. No one at the scene called the police. The VTA would not confirm whether it intends to pursue Google for the cost of repairs to the single-decker, articulated bus.

Of the 17 earlier accidents involving Google’s self-driving cars, four also occurred on El Camino Real, and one at the very same intersection as the most recent incident. According to a spokesperson at the Mountain View Police Department, El Camino is not considered a hotspot for collisions.

Nevertheless, it is the busiest surface street in Mountain View, with multiple lanes of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as vehicles exiting shops and businesses.

“The real world is messy! And it’s why the most important criteria for the early deployments of automated vehicles will be location, location, location,” says Bryant Walker Smith, a law professor at the University of South Carolina.

Google’s admits that it needs to improve its software’s social motoring: the continuous give-and-take of driving where human drivers anticipate the actions of other road users even when both (or neither) are strictly following the law. The company says it has already updated its cars’ software to understand that large vehicles like buses are less likely to yield....

Google accepts blame for its self-driving car causing crash
Google self-driving car crashes into bus and company admits it is 'partially' responsible

independent.co.uk · 2016

A Google driverless car has been involved in an accident with a bus and Google has said it “bears some responsibility” for the first time.

The company admitted that it was partially responsible for the minor collision, which happened earlier in February.

The case is thought to be the first of its kind, where an autonomous car has hit another vehicle.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view. From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

The car, a Lexus SUV, was attempting to navigate around some sandbags at a speed of 2mph, when it hit the bus, which was travelling at 15 mph, according to a report filed with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The vehicle and the test driver “believed the bus would slow or allow the Google vehicle to continue”, the report said.

After going around the sandbags, the car moved back into the centre of the lane, striking the side of the bus, causing damage to the left front fender, the front wheel and a driver side sensor.

Shape Created with Sketch. In pictures: Artificial intelligence through history Show all 7 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. In pictures: Artificial intelligence through history 1/7 Boston Dynamics Boston Dynamics describes itself as 'building dynamic robots and software for human simulation'. It has created robots for DARPA, the US' military research company 2/7 Google's self-driving cars Google has been using similar technology to build self-driving cars, and has been pushing for legislation to allow them on the roads 3/7 DARPA Urban Challenge The DARPA Urban Challenge, set up by the US Department of Defense, challenges driverless cars to navigate a 60 mile course in an urban environment that simulates guerilla warfare 4/7 Deep Blue beats Kasparov Deep Blue, a computer created by IBM, won a match against world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The computer could evaluate 200 million positions per second, and Kasparov accused it of cheating after the match was finished 5/7 Watson wins Jeopardy Another computer created by IBM, Watson, beat two champions of US TV series Jeopardy at their own game in 2011 6/7 Apple's Siri Apple's virtual assistant for iPhone, Siri, uses artificial intelligence technology to anticipate users' needs and give cheeky reactions 7/7 Kinect Xbox's Kinect uses artificial intelligence to predict where players are likely to go, an track their movement more accurately 1/7 Boston Dynamics Boston Dynamics describes itself as 'building dynamic robots and software for human simulation'. It has created robots for DARPA, the US' military research company 2/7 Google's self-driving cars Google has been using similar technology to build self-driving cars, and has been pushing for legislation to allow them on the roads 3/7 DARPA Urban Challenge The DARPA Urban Challenge, set up by the US Department of Defense, challenges driverless cars to navigate a 60 mile course in an urban environment that simulates guerilla warfare 4/7 Deep Blue beats Kasparov Deep Blue, a computer created by IBM, won a match against world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. The computer could evaluate 200 million positions per second, and Kasparov accused it of cheating after the match was finished 5/7 Watson wins Jeopardy Another computer created by IBM, Watson, beat two champions of US TV series Jeopardy at their own game in 2011 6/7 Apple's Siri Apple's virtual assistant for iPhone, Siri, uses artificial intelligence technology to anticipate users' needs and give cheeky reactions 7/7 Kinect Xbox's Kinect uses artificial intelligence to predict where players are likely to go, an track their movement more accurately

No one was injured in the minor collision.

“In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision,” Google said in a statement to CNBC.

Google has since said it has made changes to its software to avoid future crashes.

“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 added.

The incident happened while Google was testing 24 of its cars, near the headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Other Google cars have been involved in incidents, but this is the first time the company has admitted any fault.

All of the 17 accidents in Google driverless cars since January have been caused by human error.

Google believes the cars will be road-ready by 2020....

Google self-driving car crashes into bus and company admits it is 'partially' responsible
Google's self-driving car caused an accident, so what now?

cnbc.com · 2016

The accident report Google filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles described the crash as, "The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left-side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue." At the time, Google's self-driving car was going 2 mph and wound up with body damage to the left front fender, left front wheel and a driver's-side sensor.

Google's February monthly report on autonomous drive activities further discussed the accident saying: "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 bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

Does this accident change the push from Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., to develop self-driving cars?

"This is just one accident, and we will likely see more," said Bryant Walker Smith an assistant professor of law at the University of South Carolina. "The world is a messy place and roads are messy places so this isn't the last accident we'll ever see with a self-driving vehicle."...

Google's self-driving car caused an accident, so what now?
Can Google’s Driverless Car Project Survive a Fatal Accident?

theatlantic.com · 2016

There’s still something that might, though.

I’ve interviewed dozens of computer scientists, artificial-intelligence researchers, engineers, and other thinkers focused on self-driving cars in the past several months, and almost all of them bring up a universal worry: The first fatal accident in which a self-driving car is to blame.

If driverless cars are to deliver on their promise, and really replace the majority of human-driven cars on the roads, a fatal accident will eventually happen. And a fatal accident could doom the entire effort.

How the public responds to the first human deaths caused by self-driving cars will ultimately determine the technology’s trajectory.

There’s some precedent for all this, of course. It’s not as though the car as we know it today was thwarted by human deaths. The first recorded traffic fatality in the United States occurred in 1899, in New York City, when a man stepping off a trolley was struck by a taxi.

The three decades that followed were chaotic and deadly. Scholars and justices debated whether the automobile was, perhaps, inherently evil. By the 1920s, cars were causing so many deaths that people in cities like New York and Detroit began throwing parades in an attempt to underscore the need for traffic safety. Tow trucks would haul smashed, totaled vehicles along the course of the parade. From The Detroit News:

Some wrecks featured mannequin drivers dressed as Satan and bloody corpses as passengers. Children crippled from accidents rode in the back of open cars waving to other children watching from sidewalks. Washington, D.C., and New York City held parades including 10,000 children dressed as ghosts, representing each a death that year. They were followed by grieving young mothers who wore white or gold stars to indicate they'd lost a child.

Eventually, traffic laws and other safety features—stop lights, brightly painted lanes, speed limits—were standardized. And car-safety technology improved, too. Vehicles got shatterproof windshields, turn signals, parking brakes, and eventually seat belts and airbags. In 1970, about 60,000 people died each year on American roads. By 2013, the number of annual traffic fatalities had been cut almost in half.

Self-driving cars could dramatically reduce the number of deaths yet again. If, as many researchers believe, self-driving cars end up shrinking traffic fatalities by up to 90 percent this century, driverless cars could save as many lives as anti-smoking efforts have.

But none of the promise of this technology takes away from the fact that autonomous vehicles still face a thicket of difficult ethical and regulatory uncertainties. One of the biggest questions of all is social in nature: How will the public accept a car that is 100 percent autonomous but not 100 percent safe—even if it’s far safer than a human-driven alternative?

It isn’t Google’s recent accident, but a more serious one that will reveal the answer.

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Can Google’s Driverless Car Project Survive a Fatal Accident?
Google car hits bus, first time at fault

usatoday.com · 2016

CLOSE A self-driving Lexus SUV owned by Google's parent company Alphabet struck a bus February 14 while it was testing on the streets of Mountain View, Calif. Wochit

A Google-owned Lexus SUV packed with autonomous car sensors had its first accident in which it was at fault, the company reported to the California DMV. (Photo: Tony Avelar, AP)

SAN FRANCISCO - After more than a million miles of autonomous driving over the past six years, Google's self-driving car had never been at fault in the 17 accidents the company reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Until now.

According to a report to the DMV, on February 14 a self-driving Lexus SUV owned by parent company Alphabet was testing on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., when it struck a bus while traveling at 2 mph. The incident was the result of road conditions that were compromised by sand bags placed in a lane, which caused the Lexus to moved into the left lane. The municipal bus was approaching in that lane at 15 mph.

The Google car anticipated that the bus would slow down, while the bus driver believed the Google car would retreat from its effort to merge. There were no injuries, and the accident resulted in damage to the left front fender and some sensors.

In all its previous accidents, the majority were the result of human drivers rear-ending the Google cars at slow speeds, typically at intersections where it anticipated the Google car would move ahead.

On Tuesday, Google is due to release its monthly report on its ongoing autonomous car program. But in a statement issued Monday, Google both acknowledged that its computer-driven vehicle made the wrong decision, but also stressed that the incident reflects that kinds of guesswork that goes on between human drivers.

Google's self driving car. A Lexus version of the company's autonomous cars was in an accident with a bus on Feb. 14. (Photo: Noah Berger, AFP/Getty Images)

"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 statement read. "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 bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

It added: "Unfortunately, all these assumptions led us to the same spot in the lane at the same time. This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day."

Although a growing number of technology and automakers are making fast progress on the road to semi- and fully autonomous cars, only Google is targeting a vehicle that ultimately would not feature a steering wheel or pedals. Google's self-driving car tests are always conducted with legally mandated safety drivers. Sometimes they take over control of the test vehicles - which by law must feature a wheels and pedals - but did not in this particular accident.

Google car leaders have taken exception of late to a proposal by the California DMV to mandate that all self-driving cars have steering wheels and pedals. Google has long maintained that computers linked to sophisticated on-board radar, lasers and cameras will ultimately lead to a reduction in the number of road accidents and deaths. Human error is augmented these days by the prevalence of smartphone-created incidents of distracted driving.

Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter: @marcodellacava

Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1oTAXjj...

Google car hits bus, first time at fault
Google’s Self-Driving Car Probably Caused Its First Accident

technologyreview.com · 2016

One of Google’s self-driving cars hit a bus, and if it is found to be at fault—which is looking probable—it will be the first time one of the company’s autonomous vehicles has been responsible for an accident on the road.

According to this story from the Associated Press, which relies on an accident report that California’s Department of Motor Vehicles posted Monday, one of Google’s autonomous Lexus SUVs hit a public bus on Valentine’s Day while trying to avoid sandbags on the road. While testing out its self-driving cars, Google has to have a human inside who can take the wheel if necessary, but apparently in this case that person thought the bus would yield.

Google said in a statement that it shoulders “some responsibility” for the accident.

Both the car and bus were traveling at slow speeds—Google’s car moving at two miles per hour and the bus at 15 miles per hour—and no one was injured. The Associated Press reports that the DMV wants to speak with Google about the incident.

The DMV report notes that the collision took place at a busy intersection in Mountain View—the corner of El Camino Real and Castro Street—in the afternoon on February 14.

Google has been testing its self-driving cars since 2009, currently using both Lexus SUVs and some smaller prototype cars (as of January, it had 22 Lexus vehicles and 33 prototypes out there, most in Mountain View and a handful in Austin, Texas). The cars have been in about a dozen accidents overall, though they haven’t been at fault in those.

While they all still drive with a human inside who can take over if need be, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration—which regulates U.S. vehicle-safety standards—said earlier this month that it counts the artificial intelligence controlling Google’s cars as a “driver.” That move makes it more likely that completely autonomous cars will eventually be able to be sold and driven in the United States.

(Read more: The Associated Press, “Google’s Self-Driving AI Counts as a ‘Driver,’ According to the Feds”)...

Google’s Self-Driving Car Probably Caused Its First Accident
Google self-driving car hits public bus near Mountain View headquarters

mercurynews.com · 2016

MOUNTAIN VIEW — A Google self-driving car has for the first time caused a crash, pulling into traffic and sideswiping a public bus.

No one was injured in the minor fender bender, but Google has adjusted the software for its fleet of autonomous cars to avoid future mishaps. Still, the incident underscored that Google’s cars are a work in progress and — in the words of one critic — “aren’t ready to cope with many everyday driving situations.”

In a report to the Department of Motor Vehicles posted online Monday, Google said its Lexus SUV was attempting to make a right turn onto Castro Street from El Camino Real in Mountain View on Feb. 14. The car had pulled close to the curb to allow vehicles behind it to proceed straight, but when the car moved back into the center of the lane to avoid sandbags around a drain, it hit a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus, the Mountain View Internet search giant said.

The Valentine’s Day crash was the ninth incident involving a Google self-driving car reported to the DMV in the past year. But it was the first time the car was to blame, a company spokesperson said.

The VTA noted that the bus, which had been carrying 15 passengers, was a “multi-ton vehicle.”

“It seems safe to say that you should not pull out in front of a bus or into the lane when a bus is going by,” said VTA spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross. “The bus doesn’t stop in an instant.”

The car’s mistake arose out of a fairly recent software tweak, Google said in a February monthly report on its self-driving cars.

“When you’re teeing up a right-hand turn in a lane wide enough to handle two streams of traffic, annoyed traffic stacks up behind you,” the report said. “So several weeks ago, we began giving the self-driving car the capabilities it needs to do what human drivers do: hug the rightmost side of the lane. This is the social norm because a turning vehicle often has to pause and wait for pedestrians; hugging the curb allows other drivers to continue on their way by passing on the left. It’s vital for us to develop advanced skills that respect not just the letter of the traffic code but the spirit of the road.”

The robot car had detected the approaching bus, but “predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it,” Google said. The on-board test driver, who is supposed to take control of the car to avoid accidents, had been watching the bus in a mirror, “expected the bus to slow or stop” and apparently did not override the autonomous mode.

“This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day,” Google said.

A police report is not required for minor accidents, and none was filed, according to Mountain View police. Google said its car was driving about 2 mphand the bus around 15 mph when the collision occurred.

Google’s car, a Lexus RX 450h, received damage to the left front fender and wheel and to a driver-side sensor. The impact bent a piece of metal in the accordion-like pivot point of the two-carriage bus, Hendler Ross said.

In the wake of the crash, consumer advocate John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog called for mandatory police reports in cases of Google autonomous-car accidents.

“Heck, they’re using our public highway as as their own laboratory, and that brings some obligation to put the public first,” Simpson said. “This really shows the situation that we’ve seen repeatedly that demonstrates that these cars aren’t ready to cope with many everyday driving situations. Merging back into the center of a lane, you ought to be able to do that without sideswiping a bus.”

However, Bryant Walker Smith, a risk, technology and mobility expert at Stanford University and assistant professor in both law and engineering at the University of South Carolina, suggested that the accident doesn’t mean much in the overall debate over self-driving cars.

“I’m no more or less optimistic about the technology or the rate of deployment after this crash,” Smith said. “It is simply something that was going to happen eventually and doesn’t change my sense that the technology has not yet been demonstrated to be ready over a wide range of conditions.”

Google director Chris Urmson, in a Jan. 28 California DMV public workshop on the state’s draft regulations for robot cars, acknowledged that Google’s cars weren’t ready for complete autonomy. But Urmson said Google opposes a draft provision that would ban robot vehicles without human operators from any testing or deployment on California roads.

Urmson said Google doesn’t see much difference between a human driver “who we really don’t trust” and no driver at all.

Contact Ethan Baron at 408-920-5011 or follow him at Twitter.com/ethanbaron....

Google self-driving car hits public bus near Mountain View headquarters
Google Self-Driving Car Crashes Into Bus

learningenglish.voanews.com · 2016

Google’s self-driving car hit a small bump in the road.

The driverless car had an accident February 14 in California. The accident was reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles in California February 23.

According to WIRED, a technology publication, the car changed traffic lanes and moved into the path of a bus.

The driverless car was a Lexus SUV. When it hit the bus, the Google car was moving at around 3 kilometers per hour.

The speed of the bus was 24 kilometers per hour at the time of the collision. No injuries were reported.

The left front wheel and fender of the Google car were damaged.

In a May 2015 monthly report Google said: “We’ll inevitably be involved in accidents; sometimes it’s impossible to overcome the realities of speed and distance… In the six years of our project, we’ve been involved in 12 minor accidents during more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving combined.”

Google has predicted the cars will be ready for the road by 2020.

I’m Mario Ritter.

This report was based on a story from VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted the story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.

________________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

traffic lane – n. a lane of a main road that is defined by painted lines

collision – n. a crash in which two or more things or people hit each other

fender – n. a part of a vehicle that covers a wheel

autonomous – adj. existing or acting separately from other things or people...

Google Self-Driving Car Crashes Into Bus
Video shows Google self-driving car hit a bus

cbsnews.com · 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Newly released video shows the moment a Google self-driving car learned the hard way not to tussle with a public bus.

The collision happened on Valentine's Day, when a Google vehicle struck the side of a public bus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View. Footage recorded by cameras on the bus shows a Lexus SUV, which Google has outfitted with sensors and cameras that let it drive itself, edging into the path of the bus that was rolling by at about 15 mph.

It was the first time in several years of testing on public roads that a Google self-driving car prototype caused a crash. Google has blamed other drivers for past collisions during testing, but, in a first, accepted at least partial responsibility for this crash.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority released the video and post-crash photos this week to The Associated Press under a public records request.

Though it was a low-speed collision, the impact crumpled the Lexus' front left side, flattened the tire and tore off the radar Google installed to help the SUV perceive its surroundings.

The Lexus had to be towed. Neither the Google employee in the driver's seat -- who must be there under California law to take the wheel in an emergency -- nor the 16 people on the bus were injured.

The transit agency has concluded based on the footage that the bus driver was not responsible, spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said. An independent claims adjustor has not yet determined liability, she said.

The accident report and video

The Lexus intended to turn right off a major boulevard but stopped after detecting sandbags around a storm drain near the intersection, according to an accident report Google filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Photos show two small, black sandbags on either side of a drain at the curb. The right lane was wide enough to let some cars turn and others go straight, but to avoid driving over the sandbags, the Lexus needed to slide to its left within the lane. The bus and several other cars that drove straight were to the left of the Lexus, in the same lane.

When the light turned green, several cars ahead of the bus passed the SUV. Google has said that both the car's software and the person in the driver's seat thought the bus would let the Lexus into the flow of traffic. The Google employee did not try to intervene before the crash.

"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. In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision," Google wrote of the incident.

The video footage shows angles from eight onboard cameras.

In one clip, passengers gazing out on a sunny afternoon are jolted to attention by a scraping, crunching sound and the impact, which causes several hand straps to sway.

In another clip, the Lexus RX450 can be seen bouncing off the side of the bus. Photos show a long scratch mark traversing the side of the bus. The radar unit ended up wedged in the crack where two side passenger doors of the bus join, cracking a glass panel.

A camera trained on the driver shows him open his mouth in surprise, then gesture as if to say, "Why did you just hit my bus?"

Self-driving safety record

Google has reported that between September 2014 and November 2015, its prototypes drove themselves about 400,000 miles on city streets near its Silicon Valley headquarters without causing a collision.

Its fleet has likely driven an additional 100,000 miles since then, though the company won't be specific. According to Google's accounting, its cars have been hit nearly a dozen times on the streets in or around its Mountain View headquarters since road testing began in spring 2014.

Last June, California state officials released reports detailing six accidents that involved self-driving car prototypes, reversing a policy that shielded details of how the next-generation technology is performing during testing on public roads.

According to the reports, most of the cars were in self-driving mode when the accidents happened, and the other driver caused the accident. None of the crashes was serious enough to cause injuries....

Video shows Google self-driving car hit a bus
Watch Google’s Self-Driving Lexus Crash Into a California Bus

inverse.com · 2016

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....

Watch Google’s Self-Driving Lexus Crash Into a California Bus
Google Driverless Car Sideswipes Bus, Gets Caught On Video

huffingtonpost.ca · 2016

LOS ANGELES -- Newly released video shows the moment a Google self-driving car learned the hard way not to tussle with a public bus.

The collision happened on Valentine's Day, when a Google vehicle struck the side of a public bus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View. Footage recorded by cameras on the bus shows a Lexus SUV, which Google has outfitted with sensors and cameras that let it drive itself, edging into the path of the bus that was rolling by at about 15 mph.

It was the first time in several years of testing on public roads that a Google self-driving car prototype caused a crash. Google has blamed other drivers for past collisions during testing, but, in a first, accepted at least partial responsibility for this crash.

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority released the video and post-crash photos this week to The Associated Press under a public records request.

Though it was a low-speed collision, the impact crumpled the Lexus' front left side, flattened the tire and tore off the radar Google installed to help the SUV perceive its surroundings.

This Feb. 14, 2016, photo provided by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority shows damage to a self-driving Lexus SUV, operated by Google. (Via Associated Press)

The Lexus had to be towed. Neither the Google employee in the driver's seat -- who must be there under California law to take the wheel in an emergency -- nor the 16 people on the bus were injured.

The transit agency has concluded based on the footage that the bus driver was not responsible, spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said. An independent claims adjustor has not yet determined liability, she said.

Here are a few other things to know about the crash and Google's self-driving cars:

IS THIS THE FIRST CRASH FOR A GOOGLE CAR?

No. The Feb. 14 crash is the first in which Google has acknowledged its car made a mistake that led to a collision.

Google has reported that between September 2014 and November, its prototypes drove themselves about 400,000 miles on city streets near its Silicon Valley headquarters without causing a collision.

Its fleet has likely driven an additional 100,000 miles since then, though the company won't be specific. According to Google's accounting, its cars have been hit nearly a dozen times on the streets in or around its Mountain View headquarters since road testing began in spring 2014.

HOW DID THE CRASH HAPPEN?

The Lexus intended to turn right off a major boulevard but stopped after detecting sandbags around a storm drain near the intersection, according to an accident report Google filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Photos show two small, black sandbags on either side of a drain at the curb. The right lane was wide enough to let some cars turn and others go straight, but to avoid driving over the sandbags, the Lexus needed to slide to its left within the lane. The bus and several other cars that drove straight were to the left of the Lexus, in the same lane.

When the light turned green, several cars ahead of the bus passed the SUV. Google has said that both the car's software and the person in the driver's seat thought the bus would let the Lexus into the flow of traffic. The Google employee did not try to intervene before the crash.

"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. In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision,'' Google wrote of the incident.

WHAT DOES THE VIDEO SHOW?

The footage shows angles from eight onboard cameras.

In one clip, passengers gazing out on a sunny afternoon are jolted to attention by a scraping, crunching sound and the impact, which causes several hand straps to sway.

In another clip, the Lexus RX450 can be seen bouncing off the side of the bus. Photos show a long scratch mark traversing the side of the bus. The car's radar unit ended up wedged in the crack where two side passenger doors of the bus join, cracking a glass panel.

A camera trained on the driver shows him open his mouth in surprise, then gesture as if to say, ``Why did you just hit my bus?''

Damage to the bus was between $2,000 and $3,000, the transit agency said Wednesday. Google would not disclose the cost to fix its car.

SURPRISING MOVE

Google has said that safety is its guiding principle in developing the cars, and that once mature, the technology promises to reduce collisions and deaths dramatically.

The software that controls the cars is programmed to follow all traffic laws and to drive conservatively, the company said.

The law-abiding algorithms that rule the SUV's onboard computer make its decision to try and slip in front of the bus surprising.

Footage shows there was not much more than a full car length between the bus and the GMC Yukon in front of it.

Google said it has tweaked its software to "more deeply understand that buses and other large vehicles are less li...

Google Driverless Car Sideswipes Bus, Gets Caught On Video
Google self-driving car caught on video colliding with bus

theguardian.com · 2016

Newly released video shows the moment a Google self-driving car learned the hard way not to tussle with a public bus.

The collision happened on Valentine’s Day 2016, when a Google vehicle struck the side of a public bus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View. Footage recorded by cameras on the bus shows a Lexus SUV, which Google had outfitted with sensors and cameras that let it drive itself, edging into the path of the bus that was rolling by at about 15mph.

It was the first time in several years of testing on public roads that a Google self-driving car prototype caused a crash. Google has blamed other drivers for past collisions during testing, but, in a first, accepted at least partial responsibility for this crash.

Driverless cars are the future. We're living in the motorised middle ages | Martin Belam Read more

The Santa Clara Valley transportation authority released the video and post-crash photos this week to the Associated Press under a public records request.

Though it was a low-speed collision, the impact crumpled the Lexus’ front left side, flattened the tire, and tore off the radar Google had installed to help the SUV perceive its surroundings. The Lexus had to be towed.

Neither the Google employee in the driver’s seat – who was required to be there under California law to take the wheel in an emergency – nor the 16 people on the bus were injured.

The transit agency has concluded based on the footage that the bus driver was not responsible, spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said. An independent claims adjuster has not yet determined liability, she said.

The 14 February crash is the first in which Google has acknowledged its car made a mistake that led to a collision. Google has reported that between September 2014 and November, its prototypes drove themselves about 400,000 miles on city streets near its Silicon Valley headquarters without causing a collision.

Its fleet has likely driven an additional 100,000 miles since then, though the company won’t be specific. According to Google’s accounting, its cars have been hit nearly a dozen times on the streets in or around its Mountain View headquarters since road testing began in spring 2014.

The Lexus intended to turn right off a major boulevard but stopped after detecting sandbags around a storm drain near the intersection, according to an accident report Google filed with the California department of motor vehicles.

Photos show two small, black sandbags on either side of a drain at the curb. The right lane was wide enough to let some cars turn and others go straight, but to avoid driving over the sandbags, the Lexus needed to slide to its left within the lane. The bus and several other cars that drove straight were to the left of the Lexus, in the same lane.

Google self-driving car strikes public bus in California, accident report says Read more

When the light turned green, several cars ahead of the bus passed the SUV. Google has said that both the car’s software and the person in the driver’s seat thought the bus would let the Lexus into the flow of traffic. The Google employee did not try to intervene before the crash.

“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. In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision,” Google wrote of the incident.

The footage shows angles from eight onboard cameras. In one clip, passengers gazing out on a sunny afternoon are jolted to attention by a scraping, crunching sound and the impact, which causes several hand straps to sway.

In another clip, the Lexus RX450 can be seen bouncing off the side of the bus. Photos show a long scratch mark traversing the side of the bus. The radar unit ended up wedged in the crack where two side passenger doors of the bus join, cracking a glass panel.

Google has said that safety is its guiding principle in developing the cars, and that once mature, the technology promises to reduce collisions and deaths dramatically.

The software that controls the cars is programmed to follow all traffic laws and to drive conservatively, the company said.

The law-abiding algorithms that rule the SUV’s onboard computer make its decision to try and slip in front of the bus surprising.

Footage from a forward-facing camera on the bus shows there was not much more than a full car length between the bus and the GMC Yukon in front of it.

Google said it has tweaked its software to “more deeply understand that buses and other large vehicles are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles”.

Google submitted an accident report to the California department of motor vehicles and also detailed the incident in the February edition of its monthly self-driving car report....

Google self-driving car caught on video colliding with bus
Google admits its self driving car got it wrong: Bus crash was caused by software

dailymail.co.uk · 2016

Google has revealed that its self driving car hit a bus because it made an incorrect assumption about where it would go.

The firm admitted the crash would not be its last - while humans were allowed on the roads.

'Our car was making an assumption about what the other car was going to do,' said Chris Urmson, head of Google's self-driving project, speaking at the SXSW festival in Austin.

'This what driving is about.'

Scroll down for video of the crash

Google has revealed that its self driving car hit a bus because it made an incorrect assumption about where it would go.

WHAT HAPPENED? Neither the Google employee in the driver's seat — who must be there under California law to take the wheel in an emergency — nor the 16 people on the bus were injured. The transit agency has concluded based on the footage that the bus driver was not responsible, spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said. Though it was a low-speed collision, the impact crumpled the Lexus' front left side, flattened the tire and tore off the radar Google installed to help the SUV perceive its surroundings.

A Google self-driving car struck a municipal bus in Mountain View in a minor crash on Feb. 14, and the search engine firm said it bears 'some responsibility' for the incident in what may be the first crash that was the fault of the self-driving vehicle.

Urmson revealed the company had taught its cars to move next to the curb when planning a right turn, sidling by traffic stopped at a traffic light, much as human drivers do, according to CNET.

As the drove, it spotted sandbags on the road ahead, so decided to stop and wait for the lane next to it to clear.

After the light turned green, the traffic began moving.

The car detected a city bus coming up the lane, and made the assumption the bus driver would slow down.

As Urmson told it, the bus driver assumed the car would stay put, and kept on going.

The car pulled out, hitting the side of the bus at about 2 mph.

In the wake of that collision, Urmson said his team 'implemented 3,500 new tests to make sure this won't happen again.'

'We're going to have another day like our Valentine's Day, and we're going to have worse days than that,' said Urmson.

'We don't like our car bumping into things,' said Urmson

'This was a tough day for us.'

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) chief Mark Rosekind told Reuters on the sidelines of an event on highway safety that the agency is collecting more information to get a 'more detailed exploration of what exactly happened.'

Google also revealed another example of the same issue, where its car tried to move out of another car's blind spot on a freeway - but slowed too much, moving into the blind spot of the other car.

At SXSW, Urmson also showed an instance where a bike going the wrong way at night suddenly zoomed through an intersection, in front of a Google car, according to Gizmodo.

The car stopped.

But Urmson said he's watched the footage dozens of times, and he believes the cyclist would probably not have been seen by a human driver.

'I am convinced if I was behind the wheel, I would have hit him.'

Urmson revealed the company had taught its cars to move next to the curb when planning a right turn, sidling by traffic stopped at a traffic light

At SXSW, Urmson also showed an instance where a bike going the wrong way at night suddenly zoomed through an intersection, in front of a Google car, according to Gizmodo. The car stopped.

He also revealed the car has seen some odd things, including a woman in an electric wheelchair chasing ducks through a street, and naked people jumping on the hood in Austin.

The firm is also struggling to teach the car the drive in snow, and the mappuing systems struggle to cope.

'The map we use doesn't work when the world changes,' said Urmson.

Chris Urmson, head of Google's self-driving project, speaking at the SXSW festival in Austin.

The top U.S. auto safety regulator said last week it is seeking additional details of the recent crash of an Alphabet Google self-driving car in California.

A Google self-driving car struck a municipal bus in Mountain View in a minor crash on Feb. 14, and the search engine firm said it bears 'some responsibility' for the incident in what may be the first crash that was the fault of the self-driving vehicle.

Rosekind said he spoke to Google officials on Wednesday and the company has been 'very forthcoming' in answering requests for details on the crash.

'We have to see what's going on,' Rosekind said.

A Google spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

U.S. safety officials said in January they are working on new guidance on self-driving vehicles that they hope to release by July. Rosekind said understanding the Google car crash is important in that process.

'One of the lessons learned would be: there's an incident, how do you make that sure that (the issue) ends up getting corrected and there is quality assurance to make sure it effectively changes what happened,' Rosekind ...

Google admits its self driving car got it wrong: Bus crash was caused by software
Who's Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?

scientificamerican.com · 2016

Valentine's Day was a bummer in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, one of Google's self-driving cars, a modified Lexus SUV, caused a crash. Detecting a pile of sandbags surrounding a storm drain in its path, the car moved into the center lane to avoid the hazard. Three seconds later it collided with the side of a bus. According to the accident report, the Lexus's test driver saw the bus but assumed the bus driver would slow down to allow the SUV to continue.

It was not the project's first crash, but it was the first caused in part by nonhuman error (most incidents involve the driverless cars getting rear-ended by human drivers not paying attention at traffic lights). The episode shines a light on an ever looming gray area in our robotic future: Who is responsible—and pays for damages—when an autonomous vehicle crashes?

The sense of urgency to find clear answers to this and other self-driving vehicle questions is growing. Automakers and policy experts have worried that a lack of consistent national regulation would make rolling out these cars across all 50 states nearly impossible. To spur progress, the Obama administration asked the Department of Transportation to propose complete national testing and safety standards by this summer. But as far as the question of accountability and liability goes, we might already be homing in on an answer, one that points to a shift in how the root cause of damage is assessed: When a computerized driver replaces a human one, experts say the companies behind the software and hardware sit in the legal liability chain—not the car owner or the person's insurance company. Eventually, and inevitably, the carmakers will have to take the blame.

Self-driving pioneers, in fact, are starting to make the switch. Last October, Volvo declared that it would pay for any injuries or property damage caused by its fully autonomous IntelliSafe Autopilot system, which is scheduled to debut in the company's cars by 2020. The thinking behind the decision, explains Erik Coelingh, Volvo's senior technical leader for safety and driver-support technologies, is that Autopilot will include so many redundant and backup systems—duplicate cameras, radars, batteries, brakes, computers, steering actuators—that a human driver will never need to intervene and thus cannot be at fault. “Whatever system fails, the car should still have the ability to bring itself to a safe stop,” he says.

The proliferation of vehicles already on the road with partial automation shows how quickly the scenario that Coelingh describes is coming about. A growing number of cars include crash-imminent braking systems, which rely on optics to detect potential front-end impacts and proactively apply brakes. Audi, BMW and others have developed cars that can parallel park themselves. And later this year Volvo will roll out the U.S.'s first semiautonomous highway driving feature, called Pilot Assist, on the 2017 S90 sedan. The system uses a windshield-mounted computer equipped with a camera and radar to automatically accelerate, decelerate, avoid obstacles and stay in a lane at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.

Features such as Pilot Assist exist in what tech policy expert and University of South Carolina assistant professor Bryant Walker Smith calls the “mushy middle of automation,” where carmakers still require human drivers to pay attention. “It's not always clear where the line between the human and the machine falls,” he says.

For the time being, some automakers are aiming to keep human drivers clearly on the responsible side of that line. General Motors' forthcoming Super Cruise, which will launch on a Cadillac in 2017 and is similar to Pilot Assist, comes with caveats that the human driver must remain alert and ready to take over steering if visibility dips or weather changes. With Pilot Assist, Volvo puts similar onus on the driver; touch sensors on the steering wheel ensure the person remains engaged.

By the time fully autonomous driving becomes a reality, however, carmakers such as Volvo, Mercedes and Google are confident that they will have these technologies—and many more—so buttoned up that they will be able to take the driver out of the operation and liability picture almost entirely. What is more, a 2014 Brookings Institution study found that current product liability law already covers the shift, so the U.S. might not need to rewrite any laws for automation to continue moving forward.

It is a relatively safe bet for driverless carmakers to say they will foot the bill for everything from fender benders to violent crashes because semiautonomy is showing that computer drivers are likely safer than human ones. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, for instance, have found that crash-avoidance braking can reduce total rear-end collisions by 40 percent. And Volvo's Coelingh notes that a study of the European version of Pilot Assist revealed that the computer maintains safer follow distances and has fewer ...

Who's Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?
Google self-driving car badly damaged in accident but wasn't at fault

autoblog.com · 2016

A self-driving Lexus RX 450h hybrid sport utility vehicle owned and operated by Google was involved in an accident in Mountain View, California, on Friday afternoon. Nobody was injured, though there was an occupant inside the Lexus at the time of the crash. Initial reports indicate Google's autonomous vehicle was not at fault.The accident happened when another driver in a commercial van ran a red light and hit the passenger side of the autonomous vehicle. Google confirmed that the vehicle was piloting itself at the time of the accident. When it became obvious a collision was imminent, the human driver applied the brakes, but it was too late. The car sustained significant damage in the crash and had to be towed away on a flatbed trailer.This isn't the first time one of Google's self-driving vehicles was involved in an accident , but it does appear to be the first time one of the tech giant's cars sustained serious damage. In a statement to 9to5Google.com , Google said, "Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we're developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer."The United States Department of Transportation earlier this week outlined a set of 15 safety assessment objectives for autonomous vehicle manufacturers to meet. The DOT said "automated vehicles hold enormous potential benefits for safety, mobility and sustainability."...

Google self-driving car badly damaged in accident but wasn't at fault
Google's self-driving car is the victim in a serious crash

engadget.com · 2016

Google will likely shed full detail on the collision in its self-driving car report due at the end of the month. It makes no bones about what happened in a statement, though (see below). The Lexus didn't enter the intersection until "at least" 6 seconds after its traffic light turned green. There was no question that the van driver was at fault, in other words. Google also stressed that red light violations are the "leading cause" of car crashes in US cities, and that 94 percent of those are due to human mistakes.

Although the outcome could have been much worse, the crash underscores a key problem with moving to autonomous cars: that piloted and robotic vehicles will likely have to share the roads for a long while. Google, Uber and others can design driverless systems that follow the law to a tee and adapt swiftly to unexpected road hazards, but it might be near-impossible to protect against human drivers who throw caution to the wind. Crashes like these likely won't disappear unless self-driving tech becomes the rule....

Google's self-driving car is the victim in a serious crash
Google self-driving car crash in US

newshub.co.nz · 2016

A Google self-driving car was filmed being towed away after a crash with another vehicle in Mountain View, California on Friday (local time).

Although the collision left a Lexus SUV badly damaged, nobody was hospitalised - but a Google spokesperson says the driver of the Google car did end up going to the hospital with a sore neck.

The tech giant also says its self-driving car was not at fault. A spokesperson said the autonomous car was hit by another vehicle that ran a red light and slammed into its side.

The Google car was in self-driving mode with a person sitting at the steering wheel. It began to brake as the other car approached it, then the human hit the brakes, but it was too late.

Rental car driver James Allen, who filmed the Google car being towed away, says he often sees the autonomous cars on his way to work.

"I've never seen one in an accident and I see at least 30 to 40 a day. They're very good cars. That's why I was so shocked," he said.

Just this week the US government issued new rules on self-driving cars; the policy set up a 15-point safety assessment for cars on the road and clarified performance standards.

Google says its self-driving cars have logged 2 million miles (3.22km). The company has been involved in about two dozen accidents, but were only at fault in one.

Newshub. / CBS...

Google self-driving car crash in US
Google's self-driving car involved in serious crash after van jumps a red light

telegraph.co.uk · 2016

One of Google's self-driving cars has been involved in the project's most serious crash to date.

The autonomous Lexus car was taken off the road after a human-controlled van went through a red traffic light and collided with the Google vehicle, according to the Silicon Valley company.

"A car heading westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and collided with the right side of our vehicle," said Google. "Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection."

No one was hurt in the accident in Mountain View, California, which is the worst collision involving one of Google's cars....

Google's self-driving car involved in serious crash after van jumps a red light
Google self-driving car gets bashed up in its worst crash yet

digitaltrends.com · 2016

As Google and others make steady progress toward perfecting their respective self-driving technologies, one of the ongoing challenges is how to deal with the sudden careless actions of drivers in regular vehicles. After all, the switch to self-driving technology clearly isn’t going to happen overnight, meaning that for a long time the roads will be shared by driverless and traditional vehicles.

Google’s high-tech cars have been involved in a few bumps and scrapes over the years, the vast majority involving relatively minor rear-ending accidents caused by other drivers at intersections.

In recent days, however, one of its self-driving Lexus SUVs suffered its worst crash to date, again caused by another car user. No one was hospitalized in the accident, which happened close to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, but a photo captured shortly after shows a severely damaged passenger door where the impact occurred.

#SelfDriving Google car involved in crash in #MountainView. #Google tells us the other vehicle ran a red light. Photo by @grommet. pic.twitter.com/Wwu5MYGPDJ — Katie Marzullo (@KatieABC7) September 24, 2016

Google issues monthly reports outlining developments in its driverless car project, and no doubt this particular incident will be detailed in its next one due for release at the end of this month. In the meantime, it issued a statement offering a few details.

It explained how one of its Lexus SUVs was driving through Mountain View “when a car heading westbound on El Camino Real ran a red light and collided with the right side of our vehicle.”

Suggesting its self-driving car wasn’t at fault, Google said its light was green “for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection,” soon after which the other vehicle hit its own.

Google noted: “Thousands of crashes happen everyday on U.S. roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the U.S. Human error plays a role in 94 percent of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”

Besides Mountain View, Google is also testing its fleet of 58 vehicles – a mix of modified Lexus cars and its own purpose-built “pod” cars – in Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Kirkland, Washington. In August the vehicles traveled a record monthly total of 170,000 miles, 126,000 of which were driven autonomously.

“Given that the average U.S. adult drives around 12,000 miles a year, our self-driving cars have navigated the equivalent of 10 years of human driving in just 31 days,” Google said. The company reported just two accidents in autonomous mode during August, both of which were low-speed collisions where another vehicle rear-ended Google’s car.

To date, there’s been only one accident where the company’s self-driving car was at fault while in autonomous mode, coincidentally on the same stretch of road as this latest incident....

Google self-driving car gets bashed up in its worst crash yet
Google autonomous SUV involved in serious crash after a van runs red light in Mountain View

bizjournals.com · 2016

A Lexus SUV with Google’s self-driving technology was involved in a serious crash on Friday after a human-operated vehicle ran a red light in Mountain View.

Video obtained by 9to5Google shows the Google-owned vehicle crossing the intersection at El Camino Real and Phyllis Avenue after the light had turned green for a full six seconds. A van marked "Interstate Batteries" then ran the red light. The Lexus was in self-driving mode.

All airbags deployed in the Lexus and there were no reported injuries. Google employees monitoring the autonomous car were visibly shaken, according to witnesses at the incident. The Google car suffered severe body damage and broken windows on its right side. It was towed away on a flatbed truck.

“Thousands of crashes happen everyday on U.S. roads and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the U.S.,” Google said in a statement, per 9to5Google. “Human error plays a role in 94 percent of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”

Reports of autonomous vehicle-involved crashes are becoming more frequent as self-driving cars hit public roads. Most of the accidents, however, are the result of human error. In July, Google’s self-driving car project experienced its first injury accident in Mountain View. Three Google employees suffered whiplash when a Google self-driving SUV was rear-ended when it came to a stop at the intersection of Phyllis Avenue and Martens Avenue.

Google isn’t the only Silicon Valley company with self-driving safety concerns. Earlier this year, Tesla saw the first fatality involving one of its vehicles that had the Autopilot feature engaged. Shortly after that accident, there was a non-fatal incident in China where a Tesla engaged in Autopilot sideswiped a Volkswagen parked on a Beijing highway. The incident did not result in any injuries and Tesla said that the driver was not holding the steering wheel.

Last week, the Obama administration released its Federal Automated Vehicles policy, which detailed a 15-point Safety Assessment for self-driving car manufacturers. Under the new regulations, companies like Google and Tesla will be required to share vast amounts of data with federal regulators regarding the building and testing of self-driving cars.

The companies will have to provide details on how the cars operate, how they record data, crash information and how they guard against hacking. They will also need to provide answers on how a vehicle’s software will manage ethical situations. The government will publish the responses in an annual report....

Google autonomous SUV involved in serious crash after a van runs red light in Mountain View
Google’s self-driving car has been involved in its worst crash yet

thenextweb.com · 2016

Google has confirmed that one of its self-driving vehicles sustained significant damage in a traffic accident involving a commercial van on Friday, September 23.

The collision took place at the corner of W El Camino Real and Calderon Ave in Mountain View, California, when the driver of the van ran a red light and struck the passenger side of Google’s Lexus RX 450 SUV.

The car was operating in its autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but that didn’t stop the human driver from slamming on the breaks when he spotted the oncoming van. Unfortunately, his reaction was a little too slow.

The good news, however, is that no one sustained any injuries during the incident. Although, understandably the Google employee in the heavily modified RX 450 was visibly shaken.

It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time that one of Google’s autonomous vehicles have been caught up in a traffic accident.

Earlier this year, a Google-branded self-driving car was involved in its first and only at-fault accident when it hit a public transit bus while attempting to navigate around a sandbag in the middle of the road.

This latest incident wasn’t the autonomous car’s fault, though. In a statement issued to 9to5Google, the company revealed that the traffic light was green for at least six seconds before the vehicle entered the intersection.

It then went on to add that “thousands of crashes happen everyday on U.S. roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the U.S. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”

Google’s self driving car involved in car crash in Mountain View on KRON

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Google’s self-driving car has been involved in its worst crash yet
Google's self-driving car in broadside collision after other car jumps red light

theguardian.com · 2016

Autonomous Lexus SUV could not prevent accident that caved in front and rear passenger-side doors, setting off airbags and forcing it to be towed away

One of Google’s self-driving cars was involved in one of the worst autonomous vehicle accident yet, when a driver ran a red light and collided with the passenger side door of the modified Lexus SUV.

The driver of the vehicle passed through a red light as one of Google’s fleet of autonomous Lexus SUVs passed through a green light on Friday afternoon. The collision, which occurred at the intersection between El Camino Rea and Phyllis Ave in Mountain View, California, caused the Google car’s airbags to be deployed, and caved in its front and rear right-side doors.

Mountain View police said that no injuries were reported, but the Google car had to be towed away on a flatbed truck.

Ron van Zuylen (@grommet) @davidnield permission granted. pic.twitter.com/WyKFCJE2Vz

Google’s autonomous vehicles are no stranger to accidents, suffering multiple impacts with various vehicles. Mostly they’ve been rear-ended when either driving slowly or stationary at a junction, suffering minor damage. The side impact in this most recent accident is one of only a few that have caused major damage to the expensive test vehicles.

Google said that the car was in self-driving mode with a person sitting at the steering wheel. The Google car hit the brakes automatically on seeing the other car crossing the red light, followed by the human behind the wheel doing the same, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the collision.

James Allen, who happened upon the crash, told KBCW: “I’ve never seen one in an accident and I see at least 30 to 40 a day. They’re very good cars, that’s why I was so shocked.”

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A Google spokesperson told 9to5Google: “Our light was green for at least six seconds before our car entered the intersection. Thousands of crashes happen everyday on US roads, and red-light running is the leading cause of urban crashes in the US. Human error plays a role in 94% of these crashes, which is why we’re developing fully self-driving technology to make our roads safer.”

Google’s fleet of autonomous cars have covered over 2m miles and has been involved in around two dozen accidents, with only one – a collision with a bus – being the fault of the self-driving car....

Google's self-driving car in broadside collision after other car jumps red light
Humans were to blame in Google self-driving car crash, police say

fastcompany.com · 2018

An autonomous car being tested by Google-owned Waymo was involved in a serious collision in the Phoenix, Arizona suburb of Chandler, when a car being driven by a human swerved to avoid another car, and left the human operator in the Waymo with minor injuries.

On Friday night, the company released a video from its vehicle’s dash-mounted cameras that shows a car swerving towards the Waymo in the moments before the collision:

The incident—two months after an Uber self-driving car struck and killed a pedestrian in nearby Tempe—is still under investigation, but early indications are that it was not the fault of the autonomous car. Google said in a statement that the vehicle was not in self-driving mode at the time of the accident, but was being driven by the human operator.

Right now: Pretty gnarly crash with an @Waymo van in Chandler, AZ. No visible injuries. pic.twitter.com/xBLYfDsQP7 — Matt Jaffee (@mattjaffee) May 4, 2018

The Waymo vehicle, a Chrysler Pacifica, was struck by a human-piloted Honda sedan that swerved to avoid hitting another car, according to a police statement reported by the Associated Press. In the process, the Honda crossed to the side of the road with traffic running in the opposite direction, and plowed into Waymo’s test van. Both vehicles appeared heavily damaged, but police report that someone sitting in the driver’s seat of the Waymo sustained only “minor injuries.”

It’s not clear which human driver was at fault, but forthcoming video from the Waymo vehicle will likely reveal more. Dash-cam video from Uber’s fatal accident in March—when one of its cars in autonomous mode struck and killed Elaine Hertzberg—showed that that event was probably avoidable, contrary to initial police statements. Uber’s autonomous car operations have since been suspended in Arizona.

Uber and Waymo are tied by more than their misfortunes in the Grand Canyon State, which has become one of the most active testing grounds for self-driving cars. In February, Uber settled a lawsuit with Alphabet, the parent company of Waymo (and Google) over the alleged theft of self-driving car intellectual property....

Humans were to blame in Google self-driving car crash, police say