For the first time ever, the computer running one of Google’s self-driving cars was blamed for a traffic accident. As you can see in the video, the self-driving car pulled out in front of a human-driven bus after the computer erroneously predicted that the bus would slow down.
Google didn’t reject blame: “We clearly bear some responsibility,” read a statement released by the company, “because if our car hadn’t moved, there wouldn’t have been a collision.”
While this isn’t the first time that one of these futuristic vehicles has been involved in a real world collision, it was the first time that the technology was at fault.
Will this setback slow the progress toward driverless roadways of tomorrow? Anthony Foxx, the United States Secretary of Transportation, does not think so.
“I think the question here isn’t comparing the automated car against perfection,” Foxx told the BBC. “I think it’s a relative comparison to what we have now on the roads, which is you and I.”
And while he did say liability remains one of many potential roadblocks self-driving cars face in coming years, the Transportation Secretary took this recent, much-publicized computational error in stride.
“It’s not a surprise that at some point there would be a crash of any technology that’s on the road,” said Foxx. “But I would challenge one to look at the number of crashes that occurred on the same day that were the result of human behavior.”