A motorcycle police officer pulled over an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt and gave it a ticket, although Cruise Automation insists the car did nothing wrong.We've read several stories inquiring about whether or not a self-driving car could be issued a ticket. This is really related to the future, when perhaps fully autonomous cars will be driving around without a human safety driver. However, what's the case currently?
Reportedly, the car didn't yield to a pedestrian at a crosswalk. As soon as the self-driving Bolt began to accelerate, the police officer pulled it over and gave a ticket to the safety driver.
However, Cruise Automation collects data from the vehicle, and its logs show that the incident was not an issue. The company claims that the person crossing the street was nearly 11 feet away from the car when it began to accelerate. A statement issued by Cruise explains:
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.
Basically, the autonomous Bolt was stopped and waiting while the pedestrian was a reasonable distance away. Once the car felt that it was safe to proceed, it began to accelerate. It's assumed that the officer was concerned that the car was headed right for the person crossing, and that's why the ticket was issued. The safety driver will be held fully responsible for the citation.
In the wake of the first known pedestrian fatality involving a self-driving car (owned and developed by Uber), incidents will not be taken lightly. Just days after the tragic Uber accident, a Tesla Model X with Autopilot engaged drove into a concrete barrier. Sadly, the driver did not survive the catastrophe.
While it seemed that the reality of fully autonomous cars was approaching more quickly than previous estimates, these recent incidents may work to put the entire segment on hold.