Newly released photos show the damage sustained when a Google self-driving car bumped into a Mountain View, California, city bus on Valentine's Day, an incident that marks the first time Google's autonomous technology has been at least partially to blame for causing an accident on the open roads.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority released the photos of the damage after a public records request from the Associated Press. Photos from after the impact show the autonomous Lexus with a bashed-in front-left side and a flat tire.
Google said its Lexus was in autonomous mode when it was trying to avoid some sandbags on a street in Mountain View, California, at which point it struck the left side of the bus at 2 mph. No injuries were reported and the video shows the accident didn't seem to rattle the 16 passengers on the bus.
In Google's monthly report, the company pointed out the incident 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," the report said. "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."
A report written by Google and posted on the DMV's website last month said the test driver who was in the car “saw the bus approaching in the left side mirror but believed the bus would stop or slow" to allow Google's car into traffic. Three seconds later, as the car moved to the center of the lane, it hit the side of the bus, which was traveling at 15 mph, according to the report.
According to California law, the test driver must sit in the front seat and grab the wheel when needed.
With 360-degrees of awareness, the self-driving cars are gaining new insights into dangerous driving behaviors, including drifting between lanes and running red lights -- both of which can contribute to accidents. Google said it has logged more than 2 million miles to date on the road.