Video Shows Google’s Self-Driving Lexus Sideswiping Bus

A new video shows the very first accident caused by a Google self-driving car after several years of testing on public roads.

While the online giant’s autonomous vehicle fleet has been involved in a number of collisions in the past, the company had always blamed other drivers. Not now, as for the first time, Google accepted at least partial responsibility for the crash that occurred on Valentine’s Day 2016 (Saturday, February 14) when a 2012 Lexus RX450h collided with a bus near its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Footage obtained by the Associated Press shows the car sitting in the left-most lane, when the bus approached from behind. The software in the Google car encountered some sandbags surrounding a manhole in the street, meaning the vehicle had to maneuver left. While it did pick up the oncoming bus coming from behind, it incorrectly anticipated the bus would come to a halt or yield to the Lexus. The bus did not do either of those things, resulting in the unwanted romantic encounter.

This has critics up in arms, including Consumer Watchdog project director John Simpson, who told the LA Times: “This accident is more proof that robot car technology is not ready for auto pilot and a human driver needs to be able to take over when something goes wrong,”

For its part, Google had the following to say :

“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.”

Check out the video below to see the driver’s reaction and the ensuing carnage to the Lexus’ front left panel and the bus rear door.

By Mitchell Jones


  • Kash

    Dear Critics,
    No sh*t someone still needs to be in the car, this tech is still being tested.

    P.s. I rather have this stuff happen during this stage in it’s life than when someone’s in the car with their kids. Also bus drivers are the worse kind of drivers anyway. I’ve almost been hit by numerous buses changing lanes. One time I was laying on my horn and the bus kept on coming. I had to slam on the brakes which almost caused the car behind me to slam into me, and the bus didn’t even stop. That was the one and only time I left my house with my dashcam in my car and turned on.

  • who cares? google can hire a better lawyer than the bus company.

  • TheBelltower

    That little love tap actually helped the appearance of that rolling tampon dispenser.

  • thunder bolt

    it was Lexus’s fault.

    • Jay

      Your right, It clearly didn’t check its mirrors. They are teaching these cars to be more human like drivers. So far they’ve been driving too slow and safe. Guarantee this was planned. A bus was the safest vehicle to gently sideswipe.

  • pcurve

    probably should just get rid of the algo to stay on the right side. Definitely not bus driver’s fault for sure.

  • kachuks

    I can’t believe the steering wheel position on those buses.

  • Self-drive

    “Video Shows Google’s Self-Driving Lexus Sideswiping Bus”

    Looked like bus swiped Self-driving Lexus to me…! The Lexus was in front…

  • Patrick

    there won’t be any total autonomous vehicles ..although jetpacks would be more fun to commute on

  • Enter Ranting

    “We clearly bear some responsibility.” No, Google, you bear ALL the responsibility for this collision. It was your car, operating by itself using your system.

    “Our test driver believed the bus was going to slow or stop to allow us to merge into the traffic.” You seriously thought a BUS was going to stop and let you merge into traffic? A bus? Rule number one regarding busses – they will NEVER stop or even slow to let you merge. That’s not how busses do, anywhere, ever.

  • CFK


  • Ken Lyns

    Now get 20 drivers of various age, gender, and ethinicity to do this in a simulator. I would expect more than half to crash as well.

  • diehard

    WTF…Did I miss something? I didn’t see anything!

  • Braddo

    Problem was bus driver. If it were an autonomous bus it probably wouldn’t have happened.