A collision caused by one of Google’s self-driving cars and involving a Silicon Valley bus was caught on video.
Traffic footage from the incident that happened earlier this year was obtained by the Associated Press. The Google smart car, a 2012 Lexus RX 450h, was heading eastbound in the far right lane of El Camino Real and preparing to make a right turn onto Castro street by pulling closer to the curb before it encountered sandbags around a manhole in its path.
The sandbags forced the vehicle to veer left toward the center of the lane before making its right turn. After allowing a few cars to pass, Google’s car prepared to make its move around the bags when the transit bus approached from behind, according to accident report notes. The Los Angeles Times reported that the statement in the notes read:
“The Google [car] test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror, but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google [car] to continue.”
The bus didn’t yield, leading the Google car to collide with it and damaging the car’s left front fender, left front wheel and one of its driver’s-side sensors. No injuries were reported and the passengers from the bus were forced to exit the bus. Google released a statement in its February monthly report:
“We can imagine the bus driver assumed we were going to stay put. 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.”
Google has since updated its self-driving software so that their cars are able to “more deeply understand” driving negotiation since buses and other large vehicles are less likely yield to others.