This might not be the first time you might be reading the "Google's Self Driving Car gets into an Accident" headline but this is the first time that it has happened when the AI was driving. Google’s cars have actually gotten into a dozen-plus fender benders over the years.. but in the previous cases, the government-mandated human driver was actually the one controlling the vehicle when the accidents occured.
Here is what happened as mentioned in the DMV report:
A Google Lexus-model autonomous vehicle (“Google AV”) was traveling in autonomous mode eastbound on El Camino Real in Mountain View in the far right-hand land approaching the Castro St. intersection. As the Google AV approached the intersection, it signaled its intent to make a right turn on red onto Castro St. The Google AV then moved to the right-hand side of the lane to pass traffic in the same lane that was stopped at the intersection and proceeding straight. However, the Google AV had to come to a stop and go around sandbags positioned around a storm drain that were blocking its path. When the light turned green, traffic in the lane continued past the Google AV. After a few cars had passed, the Google AV began to proceed back into the center lane to pass the sand bags. A public transit bus was approaching from behind. The Google AV test driver saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow to allow the Google AV to continue. Approximately three seconds later, as the Google AV was reentering the center of the lane it made contact with the side of the bus. The Google AV was operating in autonomous mode and traveling at less than 2 mph, and the bus was travelling at about 15 mph at the time of contact.
The Google AV sustained bus damage to the left front fender, the left front wheel and one of its driver’s-side sensors. There were no injuries reported at the scene.
It cannot be called a catastrophe but it is -especially for the AI programmers. Only such cases can make building Self-driving cars so hard. But, as you know, to err is machine and to learn is AI..!!