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Google self driving car crashes into bus

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Google self driving car crashes into bus

Old 03-01-16, 07:09 AM
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Google self driving car crashes into bus

This is the first time that a google self driving car, while in self driving mode, crashed into another vehicle.

This was no "accident." The car did exactly what its programmers told it to do.

It was going two miles per hour at the time. No one was hurt.


http://www.engadget.com/2016/02/29/g...-car-accident/

Google self-driving car crashes into a bus

It may be the first instance of a Google autonomous car being at fault in an accident.

February 29, 2016

Google's self-driving cars have been in accidents before, but always on the receiving end... at least, until now. The company has filed a California DMV accident report confirming that one of its autonomous vehicles (a Lexus RX450h) collided with a bus in Mountain View. The crash happened when the robotic SUV had to go into the center lane to make a right turn around some sand bags -- both the vehicle and its test driver incorrectly assumed that a bus approaching from behind would slow or stop to let the car through. The Lexus smacked into the side of the bus at low speed, damaging its front fender, wheel and sensor in the process.

This was a minor incident, and we're happy to report that there were no injuries.
However, this might be the first instance where one of Google's self-driving cars caused an accident. If so, the Mountain View crew can no longer say it's an innocent dove on the roads -- while this wasn't a glitch, its software made a decision that led to a crash. We've reached out to Google to see if it can elaborate on what happened.

No matter what the response, it was always going to be difficult to avoid this kind of incident. Until self-driving cars can anticipate every possible road hazard, there's always a chance that they'll either be confused or make choices with unexpected (and sometimes unfortunate) consequences. However, the hope at this early stage isn't to achieve a flawless track record. Instead, it's to show that self-driving cars can be safer overall than their human-piloted counterparts.

Update: Google has provided us with its take on the incident from its February monthly report. It sees the accident as the result of that "normal part of driving" where there's mutual blame: both sides made too many assumptions. So yes, Google acknowledges that it's partly at fault for what happened. In the wake of the crash, it has already tweaked its software to accept that buses are "less likely to yield" and prevent issues like this in the future. Read the full copy below:

"Our self-driving cars spend a lot of time on El Camino Real, a wide boulevard of three lanes in each direction that runs through Google's hometown of Mountain View and up the peninsula along San Francisco Bay. With hundreds of sets of traffic lights and hundreds more intersections, this busy and historic artery has helped us learn a lot over the years. And on Valentine's Day we ran into a tricky set of circumstances on El Camino that's helped us improve an important skill for navigating similar roads."

"El Camino has quite a few right-hand lanes wide enough to allow two lines of traffic. Most of the time it makes sense to drive in the middle of a lane. But when you're teeing up a right-hand turn in a lane wide enough to handle two streams of traffic, annoyed traffic stacks up behind you. So several weeks ago we began giving the self-driving car the capabilities it needs to do what human drivers do: hug the rightmost side of the lane. This is the social norm because a turning vehicle often has to pause and wait for pedestrians; hugging the curb allows other drivers to continue on their way by passing on the left. It's vital for us to develop advanced skills that respect not just the letter of the traffic code but the spirit of the road."

"On February 14, our vehicle was driving autonomously and had pulled toward the right-hand curb to prepare for a right turn. It then detected sandbags near a storm drain blocking its path, so it needed to come to a stop. After waiting for some other vehicles to pass, our vehicle, still in autonomous mode, began angling back toward the center of the lane at around 2 mph -- and made contact with the side of a passing bus traveling at 15 mph. Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it. (You can read the details below in the report we submitted to the CA DMV.)"

"Our test driver, who had been watching the bus in the mirror, also expected the bus to slow or stop. And we can imagine the bus driver assumed we were going to stay put. Unfortunately, all these assumptions led us to the same spot in the lane at the same time. This type of misunderstanding happens between human drivers on the road every day."

"This is a classic example of the negotiation that's a normal part of driving -- we're all trying to predict each other's movements. In this case, we clearly bear some responsibility, because if our car hadn't moved there wouldn't have been a collision. That said, our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic, and that there would be sufficient space to do that."

"We've now reviewed this incident (and thousands of variations on it) in our simulator in detail and made refinements to our software. From now on, our cars will more deeply understand that buses (and other large vehicles) are less likely to yield to us than other types of vehicles, and we hope to handle situations like this more gracefully in the future."
Old 03-01-16, 08:02 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by grundle View Post
This was no "accident." The car did exactly what its programmers told it to do.
You are the worst.
Old 03-01-16, 09:05 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Actually, you have no "right" to pull into a lane you aren't already in (unless the other driver faces a Yield sign or other signal). If someone "lets you in," it is a courtesy. Google AI is at fault.
(That's why the freaking lines are painted on the road.)
Old 03-01-16, 09:23 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Skynet is self aware. Ban all self driving cars.
Old 03-01-16, 09:44 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Learning not to "assume" that other drivers are going to behave a certain way is driver's ed 101. Still, robot cars still have a much better track record than human drivers.
Old 03-01-16, 10:11 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

I really hope self driving cars become commonplace in my lifetime.
Old 03-01-16, 10:24 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Oh god, I'm agreeing with Grundle. The car did what it was programmed to do. Just like any computer, it's what we tell it to do that is wrong.

I'm not familiar with California traffic laws, but I'm going to disagree with OldDude's statement on principal. I don't care how wide the lane is, it is technically only ONE lane and cars should not be passing in the same lane. I would say the bus caused the accident, the Google car just failed to avoid it.

This is one of my road rage push-buttons ... Just because there is space does NOT mean it is another lane.
Old 03-01-16, 10:28 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Just as a note, there is always a driver in these cars. If that driver senses that he needs to take over, or there will be an accident, he is required to. He also assumed incorrectly that the bus would yield.
Old 03-01-16, 10:34 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Yeah life lesson. A vehicle bigger than you doesn't give a fuck.
Old 03-01-16, 10:39 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
I really hope self driving cars become commonplace in my lifetime.
No, they will not become commonplace before the end of the week, sorry.
Old 03-01-16, 11:17 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Abob Teff View Post
I'm not familiar with California traffic laws, but I'm going to disagree with OldDude's statement on principal. I don't care how wide the lane is, it is technically only ONE lane and cars should not be passing in the same lane.
I think we read it differently because the story is a little "vague."

I read it as the Google car was in the right turn lane or the rightmost of two right turn lanes, which was partially obstructed, while the bus was one lane to the left of the Google car. The Google car just said, "The bus will be nice, I'll just intrude in his lane. What could go wrong?" A jiffy later, a loud "thunk" answered the question.

If it was one overly wide lane, not divided into two by a stripe, you could be right. However, once you are stopped, you are yielding to other traffic. You can't just pull out in front of them or into their side.
Old 03-01-16, 11:19 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

I don't think I'd care for self driving cars. They're cool but just not interesting enough for me to own ever. I like control. I demand submissiveness by whatever I ride. Whether it likes it or not.
Old 03-01-16, 11:39 AM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Solid Snake View Post
I don't think I'd care for self driving cars. They're cool but just not interesting enough for me to own ever. I like control. I demand submissiveness by whatever I ride. Whether it likes it or not.
But think about the backseat action you could be getting while the car drives you around.

Let me put this in Solid Snake terms: One bitch is making you a sandwich while you're taking another on a tour of Pound Town.
Old 03-01-16, 12:17 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by OldDude View Post
I think we read it differently because the story is a little "vague."

I read it as the Google car was in the right turn lane or the rightmost of two right turn lanes, which was partially obstructed, while the bus was one lane to the left of the Google car. The Google car just said, "The bus will be nice, I'll just intrude in his lane. What could go wrong?" A jiffy later, a loud "thunk" answered the question.

If it was one overly wide lane, not divided into two by a stripe, you could be right. However, once you are stopped, you are yielding to other traffic. You can't just pull out in front of them or into their side.
I got the impression it was a wide lane, and people kindly move to the right side when turning so as to not stop up traffic behind them. I don't see it very often around here as our lanes are usually too narrow, but occasionally I do. It's a nice thought on the turning car's behalf, but they are still in the lane, and anyone passing them should be yielding if that car needs to resume the full lane.
Old 03-01-16, 12:42 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

OldDude -- understandable. In that case, I would agree with you. The fact that your lane is blocked (parked car, delivery vehicle, car turning, etc.) does NOT entitle you to my lane. Another one of my road rage push-buttons (or a variation on the same one).

In this case though, it is a wide lane that drivers have claimed and turned it into two lanes.

El Camino has quite a few right-hand lanes wide enough to allow two lines of traffic. Most of the time it makes sense to drive in the middle of a lane. But when you're teeing up a right-hand turn in a lane wide enough to handle two streams of traffic, annoyed traffic stacks up behind you. So several weeks ago we began giving the self-driving car the capabilities it needs to do what human drivers do: hug the rightmost side of the lane. This is the social norm because a turning vehicle often has to pause and wait for pedestrians; hugging the curb allows other drivers to continue on their way by passing on the left. It's vital for us to develop advanced skills that respect not just the letter of the traffic code but the spirit of the road."
Whether I hug the curb, move over, or whatever ... It is still ONE lane which does not entitle the bus (or other cars) to the "unused" space. If I am stopped in the lane, traffic behind me must stop or pass LEGALLY. If the state creates a turn lane, the story changes.

On a somewhat related tangent, last night our local news reported that some hairbrained state legislator is introducing a bill which would allow school buses to legally drive and pass on the shoulder of roadways. Again, theoretically unused space does NOT equate to a safe place for you to drive.
Old 03-01-16, 12:45 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Solid Snake View Post
I don't think I'd care for self driving cars. They're cool but just not interesting enough for me to own ever. I like control. I demand submissiveness by whatever I ride. Whether it likes it or not.
I think we are going two different directions with "control" but I agree with Snake. I actually get carsick if I am in a vehicle and not in control (driving). I don't think I could do a "driverless" car.

Last edited by Abob Teff; 03-08-16 at 12:16 AM.
Old 03-01-16, 01:39 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Sounds like the bus driver was being a dick, like most Cali bus drivers. So it's good this happened, get the logic errors worked out.
Old 03-01-16, 02:36 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
You are the worst.
Yes, I know. But let's stay on topic.
Old 03-01-16, 02:38 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Learning not to "assume" that other drivers are going to behave a certain way is driver's ed 101. Still, robot cars still have a much better track record than human drivers.
I agree with you.
Old 03-01-16, 02:40 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by spainlinx0 View Post
Just as a note, there is always a driver in these cars. If that driver senses that he needs to take over, or there will be an accident, he is required to. He also assumed incorrectly that the bus would yield.
Yes.

And I'm guessing that the human driver would have been going more than two miles per hour, and the damage from the human driver would have been worse.
Old 03-01-16, 02:46 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Originally Posted by Abob Teff View Post
I think we are going two differs directions with "control" but I agree with Snake. I actually get carsick if I am in a vehicle and not in control (driving). I don't think I could do a "driverless" car.
Then maybe they should add a fake steering wheel and fake pedals.
Old 03-01-16, 02:47 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Goops
Old 03-01-16, 04:59 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

So the google driver software doesn't 'detect' that it's going to hit another object, and immediately stop?
Old 03-01-16, 09:06 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

Uh OH... This incident will hold back the deployment of self-driving vehicles 5 years, while all the naysayers and politicians will have a field day foisting "We told you so!" signs all over the net, media, etc... Google should have kept this 'accident' secret.
Old 03-01-16, 09:12 PM
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Re: Google self driving car crashes into bus

the software is female...

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