Google recently announced that one of its self-driving vehicles was at least partially responsible for a minor accident in which it was involved. The Feb. 14 accident became the first one in which Google acknowledged that the software may have played a role, and the glitch will be corrected before these vehicles are in widespread use in Oklahoma.
Google's Lexus 450 hybrid SUV was involved in a minor collision with a bus in Mountain View, California. where the company is based. The accident happened after the self-driving car moved back to the center of the right lane to avoid sandbags placed around a storm drain. The vehicle had been on the right side of the lane and planning on making a turn. When the Google vehicle traveling at about 2 miles per hour at that moment moved back to the center, a city bus traveling behind it at a speed of about 15 miles per hour collided with the SUV on its left side.
Google self-driving vehicles had gotten into 17 car accidents in the past. The situation has become a learning opportunity, and the company has stated that the incident will serve to continue improving the self-driving software so that the technology will be able to better understand how larger vehicles like buses and smaller passenger vehicles interact.
In the meantime, if a person is hurt in an accident caused by a self-driving vehicle, the question about who is responsible for the accident might need to be explored. Many personal injury attorneys are aware that some of the autonomous vehicle manufacturers have stated that they would bear responsibility if a software malfunction caused an injury accident.