Remember when that Google self-driving car crashed into a city bus last month? As the robot was at fault, it appeared that the incident was the first time a self-driving car had caused a collision. Well, almost a month has passed since the wreck, and we now have video of the historic (it's fair to call it "historic," right?) moment.
The video, obtained by the Associated Press via a public records request, is unfortunately not from the view of the self-driving Lexus RX450h SUV, but rather from the perspective of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus that was hit. In the opening seconds of the video, you can see the white Lexus stopped ahead and to the right of the oncoming bus. The video cuts to a shot of the interior of the bus, and at the 16-second mark the SUV can be seen making contact with the bus door — a moment quickly followed by surprised reactions from everyone on board.
In its February self-driving car project report, Google goes into more detail as to what caused the crash (the emphasis is ours).
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.
The sandbags that forced the car to come to a complete stop, and then drive into a city bus thus giving the autonomous robot its first taste of metal-on-metal violence? Take a look.
Pretty imposing stuff.
And so while autonomous vehicles may indeed be the first baby steps toward the eventual robot uprising, we can all take some solace in the fact that they still can't manage to navigate around two tiny sandbags.