An autonomous vehicle owned by Cruise, the autonomous car startup acquired by GM last year, hit a motorcycle on a San Francisco street earlier this year. Just like us filing with the California DMV, the motorcyclist was able to walk away from the crash but reported shoulder pain and was taken to the hospital for medical treatment. Cruise said police at the scene determined the motorcycle was to blame for the crash.
The cruise ship was traveling in the middle of a three-lane, one-way street in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood. He sees a gap in traffic in the left lane and begins to change lanes—but then the gap begins to close as the vehicle in front slows down. So Cruise’s car turns into the center lane.
Normally, that would be a chain of events that goes unnoticed on the busy streets of San Francisco. Unfortunately, Cruise said, “a motorcycle just split between two cars in the middle and the right lanes going into the middle lane.” The motorcycle “looked at the side of Cruise AV, wobbled, and fell.”
Cruise said his car was traveling at 12 miles per hour, while the motorcycle was going 17 miles per hour.
“We test self-driving cars in challenging and unpredictable environments because, by doing so, we’ll have better, safer AV technology on the roads soon,” Cruise said in an emailed statement. “In this case, the motorcycle merged into our lane before it was safe to do so.”
This is far from the first accident involving a boat on San Francisco streets. The company reported 14 collisions to the California authorities between September and November of this year-a reality of the house active testing on the San Francisco street. Most of these involve another car that completes Cruise’s vehicle.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt owns it touted Cruise’s decision to test on the streets of San Francisco, arguing that the company’s software will learn faster if operating in challenging urban driving environments.
“Our cars encounter challenging (and frequent) situations up to 46 times more often than other places where self-driving cars are tested,” Vogt wrote.
Him provided statistics in October that showed that San Francisco cars encounter traffic violations like “passing the opposite lane” and “wandering” 20 to 40 times more in San Francisco than in the Phoenix area where Waymo and Uber are conducting many tests they.
Unfortunately, while California collects statistics on every autonomous car accident and posts the details to its website, we don’t have comparable information from the large trial happening in Arizona.