After more than a million miles of autonomous driving over the past six years, Google's self-driving car had never been at fault in the 17 accidents the company reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles until now.
According to a report to the DMV, on February 14 a self-driving Lexus SUV owned by parent company Alphabet was testing on the streets of Mountain View, Calif., when it struck a bus while traveling at 2 mph. The incident was the result of road conditions that were compromised by sand bags placed in a lane, which caused the Lexus to move into the left lane.
The Google car anticipated that the bus would slow down, while the bus driver believed the Google car would retreat from its effort to merge. There were no injuries, and the accident resulted in damage to the left front fender and some sensors.
In all its previous accidents, the majority were the result of human drivers rear-ending the Google cars at slow speeds, typically at intersections where it anticipated the Google car would move ahead.
On Tuesday, Google is due to release its monthly report on its ongoing autonomous car program. But in a statement issued Monday, Google both acknowledged that its computer-driven vehicle made the wrong decision, but also stressed that the incident reflects that kinds of guesswork that goes on between human drivers, foreign media reports.