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Self-driving vehicle partly to blame for minor crash

Pennsylvania residents who have been following the development of autonomous driving technology may have heard that on Feb. 14, a Google self-driving car became involved in an accident with a Mountain City, California, bus. The company stated that the self-driving vehicle was at least partially responsible for the accident.

According to Google, the self-driving Lexus 450 hybrid SUV was traveling in the right lane of a city street. The vehicle moved back into the center of the lane to avoid hitting obstacles in the roadway, causing a city bus that was already traveling in that lane to bump it from behind. No one suffered any injuries in the minor fender bender. The Google car was reportedly only traveling about 2 mph while the bus was traveling about 15 mph. The self-driving car sustained some damage.

In a statement, Google said that the vehicle's test driver thought that the bus would yield while the bus driver thought that the Google car would yield. Google said that the self-driving car clearly was at least partially responsible for the scrape, as there would be no accident if the car had yielded to the bus. Google intends to ensure that its software understands that larger vehicles are less likely to yield.

Even a slow-speed car crash can result in serious injuries. While self-driving cars have the potential of dramatically reducing accidents, their widespread availability is still far off. A person who has been injured in a crash caused by a negligent motorist may want legal assistance in seeking compensation for medical expenses and other losses.

Source: CNN Money, "Google's self-driving car at fault in accident", Chris Isidore, Feb. 29, 2016

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Gregory R. Gifford
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