Irony at Its Best: Google Gets Bus Detection Patent After Colliding with a Bus

News of the first accident involving one of Google's self-driving cars that was actually caused by the robotic vehicle (for a change) has duly made the headlines in recent weeks, but if we're to be honest, it wasn't convincing enough to make us doubt the validity of driverless cars.
Google bus detection patent illustration 1 photo
Photo: Google
One thing is sure: as long as not all cars will be interconnected and some of them will still be driven by humans, we'll still have accidents. The more autonomous cars there will be on the road, the fewer accidents, but that number will not be zero. Hell, perhaps even if all cars were controlled by AIs we'd still register the occasional bump, but the drop in the number and severity of accidents would be spectacular.

For now, though, a Lexus RX450h owned by Google managed to get itself into a paint transaction with a bus. The report said that the car wanted to make a right turn, but the lane was blocked by some rubble, so it had to go round it. It somehow failed to see the bus that was approaching from behind (or, who knows, maybe the AI assumed it would stop, which is hard to believe, though) and scraped its side.

That was all. Much ado about nothing. Only it's not nothing since this is the future of the automotive industry we're talking about here. Google is at the forefront of AI development, and it's chosen to apply its knowledge in the field of autonomous cars (apart from defeating Go world champions) with very good results so far. It is definitely one of the key players to keep an eye on in the future.

As if foreseeing this day (well, February 14, the day the accident happened), Google filed for a patent back in 2014 called "Bus Detection for Autonomous Vehicle." The company thought it would be a good idea if the car could recognize whenever it was around a school bus (based on shapes and color) and enter a more cautious driving mode. So even though the irony remains intact, this feature would have done nothing to prevent that particular crash, as the bus involved was a regular one.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
Vlad Mitrache profile photo

"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories