Despite continuously assuring naysayers about their algorithm, Google is set to meet with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to discuss their Self-driving car ’s collision with a bus in an incident that occurred on Valentine’s Day this year. Ironically, the crash took place very close to Google headquarters in Mountain View and the debate on how realistic the advent of autonomous vehicles is has now resurfaced.
This news comes just a few days after a legal breakthrough in which the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had said to tech giant that it would likely categorize the computer program in the same league as human drivers. Analysts had deduced that this statement would pave the way for the manufacturing of vehicles without the traditional controls such as steering wheels and pedals. However, following this incident, and if the DMV finds the Google car at fault, it will likely set back the project.
Interestingly, the crash occurred while a human was aboard the car and Google’s statement on the matter said that their test driver did not override the automated system as he assumed the bus would slow down and allow the self-driving car to merge with traffic. However, the company also took on responsibility for the collision saying “we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn’t moved, there wouldn’t have been a collision.” They have also confirmed that they have altered the algorithm to assume that “buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles.”
Chris Urmson, Director of Google Self-Driving Car Project, is scheduled to speak at this month’s South by South West Festival in Austin, Texas, and we imagine some hard-hitting questions coming his way regarding this incident.
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