March, 10, 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, when a Google vehicle struck the side of a public bus in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View. A Lexus SUV, which the company outfitted with sensors and a camera that allow it drive itself, edged into the path of the bus as it rolled by at about 15 mph, according to footage recorded by cameras on the bus.
It was the first time in several years of testing on public roads that a Google self-driving car prototype caused a crash. The tech giant has blamed other drivers for past collisions.
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.