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Collision of Google car with bus begs the question: is it ready?

Back in July last year we wrote a post entitled, "Problems with self-driving cars will always be there." In that post, as some of our more frequent readers may remember, we talked about self-driving cars and whether they are safer than human-operated vehicles.

Though some still believe that self-driving and autonomous cars are safer than human-operated vehicles, it's worth pointing out that self-driving vehicles like the Google car—though highly advanced—can get into accidents. This happens because the vehicle's programming is not sophisticated enough to beat years of human experience behind the wheel.

So with nearly seven months of time for improvement since our last blog post on this topic, has the Google car gotten any better at avoiding accidents?

According to a recent Reuters article, the answer is no. As the article explains, a Google car collided with a bus recently because "the vehicle and the test driver 'believed the bus would slow or allow the Google (autonomous vehicle) to continue'." The Google car's failure to make the appropriate adjustments were its fault, explained Google, who admitted that if its car hadn't moved, "there wouldn’t have been a collision."

As you may realize, crashes like this one show how long autonomous vehicles still have to go before they make better decisions than humans in all situations. Until this happens, few people can say with absolute certainty that they are better or safer than human drivers. In fact, as we pointed out several months ago, autonomous cars may only further complicate the issue of liability down the road.

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