Google has finally taken “some responsibilty” after one of its driverless cars crashed into a bus in Mountain View, California last month.
The company admitted that it was partially responsible for the minor collision, which happened on February 14.
The case is thought to be the first of its kind, where an autonomous car has hit another vehicle.
In a report filed with California regulators, Google said the crash occurred when a self-driving Lexus RX450h tried to skirt around some sandbags in a wide lane.
While the report does not address fault, Google said in a written statement, “We clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved there wouldn’t have been a collision.”
According to the company, the car was rolling at 2mph (3kph) and the bus at 15mph.
The vehicle and the test driver “believed the bus would slow or allow the Google vehicle to continue”, the report said.
However, 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. No one was injured.
“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.
Google’s written statement called the Feb. 14 collision “a classic example of the negotiation that’s a normal part of driving, we’re all trying to predict each other’s movements.”
Google said its computers have reviewed the incident and engineers changed the software that governs the cars to understand that buses may not be as inclined to yield as other vehicles.
“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.