A Google self driving car may have destroyed the company's "squeaky clean" record.
The Verge reports that the company could not deny this accident because one of Google's self-driving Lexus SUVs hit the side of a bus.
According to the report, the car hit the bus because of a miscalculation on the car's part.
The car ended up with a damaged left front fender, left front wheel and driver’s -side sensors.
Google addressed this in it's February monthly self-driving report.
"On February 14, our vehicle was driving autonomously and had pulled toward the right-hand curb to prepare for a right turn. It then detected sandbags near a storm drain blocking its path, so it needed to come to a stop.
After waiting for some other vehicles to pass, our vehicle, still in autonomous mode, began angling back toward the center of the lane at around 2 mph – and made contact with the side of a passing bus traveling at 15 mph. Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it.
Our test driver, who had been watching the bus in the mirror, also expected the bus to slow or stop. And 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.
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. 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.
We’ve now reviewed this incident (and thousands of variations on it) in our simulator in detail and made refinements to our software. 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."