GM Sued By Lane-Splitting Motorcyclist In Self-Driving Chevy Bolt Crash
About a month ago, a self-driving Chevy Bolt was involved in a crash with a motorcycle, and now the driver is suing GM.
Cruise Automation’s autonomous Chevy Bolts have been involved in more than a few accidents recently (13 to be precise, according to the California DMV). Fortunately, no one has been hurt (until now), and it seems that the Bolt hasn’t been at fault in any of the incidents.
This isn’t to say that the self-driving car’s “robotic” driving style may not be part of the reason for the collisions. While even preliminary forms of self-driving tech and active safety features should reduce accidents, other drivers on the road may not anticipate the computerized driver’s intentions and actions, which could result in an incident. Thus far, such incidents have been at low speeds and very minor.
The motorcyclist in question is Oscar Nilsson. Apparently, he sustained some injuries when the two vehicles bumped one another. Immediately following the accident, he complained of shoulder pain and proceeded to seek medical treatment. Now, he says he’s unable to work and is on disability leave.
The Bolt EV was driving itself, however, as is always the case at this point, a human driver was in the driver’s seat and ready to engage. At the time of the crash, the driver didn’t have his hands on the wheel. The Bolt was traveling about 12 mph, while the motorcycle was at 17 mph.
According to the crash report filed by GM with California Department of Motor Vehicles, the car began a lane change procedure in heavy traffic, but then went back into its original lane because there was no longer room to merge. Meanwhile, the motorcycle was lane-splitting, bumped the Chevy Bolt, and tipped over. GM claims (via The Verge):
“In this case the motorcyclist merged into our lane before it was safe to do so.”
The Bolt suffered a long scuff on its passenger side. The motorcyclist picked up his bike and proceeded to the side of the road. He then exchanged information with the driver of the Bolt … not the robot, but the human. A Cruise Automation spokesperson explained:
“… a motorcycle that had just lane-split between two vehicles in the center and right lanes moved into the center lane. [The motorcycle] glanced the side of the Cruise AV, wobbled, and fell over.
We test our self-driving cars in challenging and unpredictable environments precisely because, by doing so, we will get better, safer AV technology on the roads sooner. In this case, the motorcyclist merged into our lane before it was safe to do so.”
GM and Cruise are rapidly updating the self-driving Bolt in an attempt to reach Level 5 autonomy as soon as safely possible. The automaker just announced that it will release a fully self-driving car next year, with no steering wheel or pedals.
Source: The Verge