Even if self-driving cars might some day improve traffic flow in New York, Google still has fine tuning to accomplish with its autonomous car software. The technology company acknowledged that one of its test vehicles bore some responsibility for a low-speed accident with a bus on Feb. 14 in California.
Although there had previously been 17 other minor accidents, this is the first one in which Google accepted partial responsibility for the crash. In this case, its self-driving software was operating a Lexus 450 hybrid SUV with a human occupant overseeing the test. The SUV was moving to the right within a right lane and preparing to make a right turn. A pile of sandbags around a storm drain caused the vehicle to move back into the center of the lane. The bus behind SUV then hit it on the left side. No one was injured.
The person monitoring the test drive did not make a correction because of an expectation that the bus would yield. An interview with the bus driver revealed that the operator had assumed the SUV would yield. A representative from Google said that the accident represented the difficulty all drivers have when trying to predict the movements of others. The company plans to adjust the self-driving software to better accommodate large vehicles.
Any person operating a vehicle assumes responsibility for actions taken behind the wheel. When a negligent driver causes a motor vehicle accident, those who are injured in the crash may be able to recover damages. A person injured by a distracted or impaired driver could discuss the possible methods of recourse with an attorney who has experience handling car accident litigation. Compensation sought by a personal injury lawsuit could include medical expenses and lost wages.