Video, photos shows Google self-driving car crashing into public transit bus

By Shawn Knight ยท 22 replies
Mar 9, 2016
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  1. Last month, one of Google's self-driving cars was at fault in a traffic accident. According to an incident report filed with the California DMV, the autonomous vehicle merged slowly back into traffic to avoid a set of sandbags near a drain at which time it struck a public transit bus.

    The Associated Press obtained and subsequently posted video and still images of the event on Wednesday. Below are some of the photos from the clip showing damage to both vehicles.

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  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,996   +2,386

  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,164   +2,637

    I don't recall how many miles the google vehicles have logged, but the circumstances appear to be one that the engineers did not anticipate. As with anything new, there will be trial & error & correction. While the damage is more than slight, the actual occurrence was not a major breakdown of the system, such a head on collision or running over a pedestrian. As these features continue to develop there will certainly be one or more "discoveries" along the way, but I would have serious questions for any authority that cancelled the program based upon what we saw.
    stewi0001 and Reehahs like this.
  4. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    The telemetry from the car said that it had already let two cars go by and assumed, therefore, that the bus would slow to let the car in. Google was moving at two mph, the bus at 15 mph. Google also claims to have updated the algorithm that day to instruct the car to give more yield to large vehicles (buses, tractor trailors, etc.).

    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Scshadow

    Scshadow TS Evangelist Posts: 535   +167

    I can't see **** in that video. The only thing you see clearly in that video is the *****ic face that the bus driver makes. The only reason this video is being released is to create fear and panic among the *****ic public of a real non-threat to our safety. I promise you, if the bus was being driven by an autonomous system, this wreck would've never happened.
    infiltrator likes this.
  6. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 584   +72

    So there was a lot of speculation as to who would be to blame in incidents like this. It is normally always the driver but in this case no driver...
  7. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,280

    This isn't going to have the slightest effect on the future of autonomous vehicles. It was always going to happen. I'm just surprised it took so long and it won't be the time last either. I'd still trust the Google autonomous driven vehicle far more than trust any human driven vehicle.
  8. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,121   +654

    If the bus was also autonomous, this theoretically wouldn't have happened ;P
  9. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,862   +666

    I see nothing wrong here, this is exactly how bus drivers drive, they assume priority everywhere, usually because they have priority, but in situations where the bus driver could let the car merge in they usually don't. Buses would be one of the few modes of transport that will really benefit from autonomous operation, they all drive set routes, they even have lanes designated to them already. People who don't want to drive already take the bus, why not make the vehicles that carry these people not have drivers either? That way you can have more buses on the road with less overhead that would normally go to salaries, perhaps even bringing the fares down and improving the system overall.
  10. RoosterFish2

    RoosterFish2 TS Booster Posts: 38   +32

    Would have rather had video from the Google Car. I bet they at least spring for 1080 video cameras. Figures online point to a $300k-$600k cost per bus, can we do better than VGA resolution cameras for these things? I suppose thats good enough for identifying criminals or unruly passengers, but with the number of bus videos that seem to make it online the govt should do more so we, the taxpayers, can enjoy them fully.
  11. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,423   +350

    Wasn't it the bus drivers fault that this happened? pretty sure this is old news and its been uncovered the bus driver was at fault....
  12. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Evangelist Posts: 656   +200

    Nope. The Google car tried to force it's way over (thinking the bus would yield). The bus didn't have to yield and did not yield. Moving at 2mph was the main problem. If you have to go into another lane or merge, you speed up and get the maneuver over with ASAP.
  13. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 966   +314

    Yeah, it's probably something the devs did not think about but this was the Google cars fault, since it was merging it did not have right of way at all. Still overall the car has done well, the system has a lot of miles with little problems so they are doing something right so far.
  14. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 734   +246

    Can you point to a white dividing line between the bus and the google car? No because its not there. It's a single wide lane, the car wasn't in another lane it was in the same lane but over to the right until it ran up against sandbangs and moved over to the left.
    The bus driver was being a completely silly, if that car managed to join and the bus hit it from behind that bus driver would have lost its job. Did that bus drive save 2 seconds by not allowing the car to avoid the sandbags and turn?
  15. Over here, bus drivers have a schedule to keep or it's their job (see the lazy a$$ inspectors sitting in their vans, timing when they get to the stop), plus they seem to show the courtesy they get, essentially none.
  16. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +116

    The video shows how easily the bus driver could have stopped but thought it was cute to hit the car instead. He even laughed about it.
    I'd call it more of a bump that a crash though.
    It looked like the bus driver was trying to get a break from driving while on the clock and milked the system.
  17. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,787   +3,204

    Quick question here. Do we have to make certain every inch of roadways in the US has lines painted in them perfectly, .so we can successfully use these asinine self driving cars?
    No, people in cars don't yield to buses and trucks correctly. As a result drivers of large vehicles have to , "brush them back from the plate", so to speak, and the bus driver displayed the amount of aggression necessary to claim his space. I realize this could be interpreted as a rationalization for more self driving cars. But, if the Google car was programmed correctly, it wouldn't have been occupying that space in the first place.
  18. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +116

    The bus tried to pass the car in the same lane on the left side without changing lanes. That's a mistake.
  19. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 734   +246

    No the point was the two vehicles are in the same lane and the one is in front of the other yet the one behind passed the vehicle in front on the left.
    Nothing about that is normal or legal or fine or anything.

    The longer version of what happened here was the Google car was trying to make a right turn (which is why that lane is so wide) but some construction crew left sandbags around the storm drain to keep sand out or whatever. So the google car couldn't perform the right turn and put its indicator on to show the vehicles behind that it will be going around the sandbags. This is why it was going slow in the first place.
    Now I completely agree that the google car should have "seen" the obstacle further ahead and not wait till the last minute to try and avoid it and this should be a good learning experience but the fault was not 100% on google here. (neither am I saying its 0% googles fault)

    Lasltly the google car had a person in it btw, it wasnt fully automated and even that person said in an interview "I thought the bus would yield" because thats the normal expected behaviour.
  20. anguis

    anguis TS Enthusiast Posts: 85   +12

    This video proves the bus driver is at fault. Single lane traffic (being a wide lane doesn't mean jack - it is still single lane) so any vehicle in front of you, whether on the left or right or middle, has the right of way. The Google car was even courteous enough to have their turn signal on to show they were moving over a little to get around the sandbags on the road. Bus drivers are notoriously aggressive, and this one got caught. Google can use this to program some new defensive driving mechanisms, at least.
    100% the bus driver's fault, that is fact.
  21. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,787   +3,204

    I honestly don't know on what highway system you normally drive on, but on the roads I take, buses and trucks have to bully their way into adjacent lanes when making the switch. Neither do car drivers seem to have any idea whatsoever about how long it takes to stop a semi-trailer. The TV news usually carries the now deceased car driver's exploits in this regard. Myself I used to chuckle in my metropolitan area, "acceptable losses" on the local highways amounted to about one death per week. Last week, another state trouper was killed when he was outside of his car trying to help a stranded motorist.

    With all that being said, the last thing on earth I want is self driving cars. They conjure up visions of packs of ninnies sitting in a car, sucking their thumbs and running their yaps on an iPhone, as the car drives therm to Starbucks to be fleeced for a stinking cup of coffee. How trendy is that? Having to do less than than the nothing they do now.

    (*) BTW, I can tell by your spelling of "behavior", you're not from around here. That might account for our different perceptions of what is "expected" highway etiquette. :D
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,787   +3,204

    Well, not that you've had your say, I guess the rest of us can go home. That's not fact. Stating it flatly "was the bus driver's fault", and then admitting the Google car might need "reprogramming" is, (IMHO), a tad disingenuous.
  23. lipe123

    lipe123 TS Evangelist Posts: 734   +246

    But this was a city street not a highway..

    And yes I'm from the utopia known as Canada where cars make way for buses and never pass on the left and everyone is mostly sort of sometimes courteous on the road :)

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