Cruise Automation is General Motors autonomous unit that is carrying out the testing of its self-driving cars in California. The unit reported to the State Officials of California that it’s self-driving cars were a part of six minor accidents in the month of September, in the State.
General Motors informed that in every instances their autonomous vehicles were not the cause of the accident and also, that nobody suffered any serious injuries or vehicle damages.
California laws asks all the accidents that include self-driving vehicles to be reported, irrespective of the damage and injuries caused by it.
So far in 2017, Cruise’s electric and autonomous Chevrolet Volt EV has been in 13 crashes, including the aforementioned 6, in California. Whereas, Google’s autonomous unit, Waymo, has witnessed 2 crashes in the Californian urban streets.
Cruise reports that in most of the crashes the unit’s self-driving vehicles were not at fault and they were merely follows the traffic laws to the T when the car would get hit, for instance, while slowing down for a red light, pedestrians in the way. To site an example, in one crash the Chevy Bolt was stopping at a signal when it was rear-ended by a Ford Ranger, whose driver was on a call on his phone.
In another minor crash case, a Dodge Charger tried to wrongfully overtake a Bolt in autonomous mode. The driver in the Bolt immediately took charge of the Car and the charger just managed to scrape one of the sensors on the Bolt and fled the scene in San Francisco.
It’s not just human car drivers that posed a threat in the autonomous testing but even cyclists were equally irresponsible. A cyclist in intoxicated scene came in a wrong directs towards the self-driving Bolt. The driver noticed it immediately and stopped the car with the cyclist hitting the bumper. He tugged and pulled a sensor of the car.
“All our incidents this year were caused by the other vehicle,” said a Rebecca Mark, spokeswoman for GM Cruise.
These reports go to show that even if autonomous vehicles are way better and safe drivers than humans but until they share the same road with other human drivers their safety is questionable.
Even if the autonomous vehicles follow all traffic rules it still has more learning to do about the erratic human behavior and how to react in situations arising due to unpredictability of humans.
The U.S. Senate poll passed a legislation, recently, that would permit autonomous car tech to be tested with little intervention from the Government. The bill would be put to vote soon.