The New Scientist reports that one of Google’s autonomous cars drove into a bus on 14 February 2016.
Apparently Google’s cars have been involved in 18 accidents in Mountain View since it started testing in 2010. All have been other vehicles striking a stationary or slow moving Google car. However, in the latest incident the AI decided to pull out into the path of the slow-moving bus—i.e. the AI was at fault.
What interested me was the explanation given by Google
Our car had detected the approaching bus, but predicted that it would yield to us because we were ahead of it
As the driver is software, it’s possible to to examine the logs and know exactly how and why the accident occurred. Obviously, things are rarely as clear-cut when human drivers are involved in accidents. This makes it a lot easier to determine where the problem lies and, more importantly, to reduce the chances of it happening again. A single incident produces a bunch of useful data.
The ability to audit the behavior of autonomous cars is going to be one of their big selling points.