There have so far been a number of accidents involving self-driving cars, but until February, all of them had been the fault of their human-driven counterparts.
Footage obtained by the Associated Press from a Mountain View public bus shows a Google automated car tapping its rear door this past Valentine’s Day, giving riders a scare and thankfully little else. While the incident caused no serious injuries, it does beg the question: who is going to be held responsible if – or rather, when – a self-driving car makes an assumption that causes an injurious or fatal mistake?
According to a Google statement, the car was programmed to assume the bus would yield as it merged. And maybe that’s the case. Maybe the programmers made a mistake and that caused the car to assume the bus would yield. Or maybe its GPS indicated that the fastest and greenest route was via public transportation and it thought it could sneak in the back door without paying the fare. I mean, it was a Lexus after all.