A minor accident between a California city bus and a Google self-driving car on Feb. 14 has led to the first reported incident that the autonomous vehicle manufacturer was willing to admit was at least partially the fault of its car. There have been previous incidents of minor accidents and fender benders associated with the cars, but this marks the first time that Google has admitted fault.
The accident occurred in Mountain View when the vehicle was attempting to make a right turn from the right lane with an engineer inside. A pile of sand bags had been put down around a storm drain on the curb, and the car moved to the center of the lane to avoid them. A bus had been approaching the vehicle from behind and struck it on the left panel.
Estimates indicate that the bus was going about 15 mphat the time of the collision and the car was going less than 2 mph. The damage to the car was exceedingly minor, but Google agreed that since the accident would not have occurred if the vehicle had not been moved to the left, it shared in the fault.
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to greatly reduce the incidence of car accidents, but the day is still relatively far off when they become widely available. Until such time, accidents will continue to be caused by negligent drivers, such as one who is distracted or intoxicated. A person who has been injured in such a collision may want to meet with a personal injury attorney to discuss how best to seek compensation from the at-fault motorist.
Source: CNN Money, "Google's Self-Driving Car at Fault in Accident", Chris Isidore, Feb. 29, 2016