Since 2014, Google self-driving vehicles have been involved in approximately twelve accidents, mostly when rear-ended. On February 14, a Google self-driving vehicle struck a city bus when it attempted to maneuver around sandbags that were obstructing its lane. The bus, which was to the left of the car, was going approximately 15 miles per hour. Technology Business reported that the autonomous vehicle- a Lexus SUV- was only driving at a speed of two miles per hour. There were no injuries among the bus passengers or the human driver in the Lexus.
The head of Google's self-driving vehicle project, Chris Urmson, stated that the Lexus was in motion before the bus was and that Google believed the bus would yield and slow down. The self-driving SUVs are rigged with advanced technology, and so Google has since reviewed the data from the accident and improved the software in order for the self-driving vehicle systems to be better able to predict that buses may not yield as quickly as other types of vehicles. Google's written statement discusses how the incident was "a classic example of the negotiation that's a normal part of driving - we're all trying to predict each other's movements."
A self-driving car has no steering wheel, accelerator, or brake pedal. Each vehicle has sensors to monitor the traffic and obstacles surrounding it, and Google has added a laser scanner atop the Lexus SUVs to ensure even better technological detection of surrounding circumstances. The vehicle is meant to be an independently-driving taxi of sorts. Two passengers can ride in the back after a smartphone request for a pick-up. Currently, the self-driving cars are unavailable to the public because the vehicles are still undergoing improvement and testing.
While advanced technology in vehicles is helping to make driving safer, mass production of self-driving vehicles are likely some time away. Regardless, auto accidents are an unfortunate reality for too many people. If you have been in a car accident that resulted from someone else's negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney who can best advise you of your legal remedies and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212) 571-7171.