A lot of eyes are on self-driving test programs right now, especially since the fatal accident involving a Uber test vehicle earlier this month.
Now a self-driving Chevy Bolt EV test car gets a ticket in San Francisco for not yielding to a pedestrian, but GM doesn’t agree with the police officer.
A pedestrian was reportedly about to cross the street at a crosswalk at 14th St., but the vehicle, which was apparently in autonomous mode, continued down Harrison street, too close to the pedestrian and it was quickly pulled over.
KPIX 5 talked to a witness who took the picture seen above:
“A witness, Kevin O’Connor, snapped a photo after seeing the motorcycle officer pull over the self-driving car as O’Connor drove through the South of Market area last week. “There was another car stopped alongside and he looked a little befuddled,” said O’Connor. “The cop was just writing a regular ticket like they always do.”
But Cruise, GM’s self-driving subsidiary, pulled out data logs from the vehicle and says that it detected the pedestrian at 10.8 feet away from the car, which they think was safe for the car to continue.
In a statement, Cruise said:
“Safety is our priority in testing our self-driving vehicles. California law requires the vehicle to yield the right of way to pedestrians, allowing them to proceed undisturbed and unhurried without fear of interference of their safe passage through an intersection. Our data indicates that’s what happened here.”
Here’s KPIX 5’s report on the accident:
GM recently announced a $100 million investment to start making the production version of its self-driving Chevy Bolt EV with plans to launch a commercial autonomous ride-sharing service soon.
Cruise has been quite bold about testing in busy city streets where there a lot of pedestrians, cyclists, and other trickier situations for self-driving vehicles.
They have successfully managed to log a lot of autonomous mileage without any major accident and that’s a good thing.
It’s hard to know for sure what happened here, but I’m glad that they are responding with some data and trying to explain themselves.
I think that companies testing self-driving technology need to have this open attitude going forward because there will inevitably be more accidents involving self-driving vehicles in the relatively short futures.
That’s unfortunate, but it’s the cost to pay to get them to improve and eventually they will save thousands of lives every year.