One of General Motor's Autonomous Vehicles Got a Ticket in San Francisco

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【Summary】Self-driving cars may touted as being safer than regular human drivers, but an autonomous vehicle from Cruise got a ticket in California for failure to yielding to a pedestrian.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 05, 2018 9:30 AM PT
One of General Motor's Autonomous Vehicles Got a Ticket in San Francisco

Autonomous cars are supposed to be safer than human-operated machines. With things like LiDAR, cameras, sensors, and high-tech features, they can see further, anticipate things better, and make less mistakes. But it's been a rough month for driverless cars. One of Uber's autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian, a Tesla that was in its Autopilot mode was involved in a fatal crash, and now news of an autonomous vehicle receiving a ticket has come out. 

Autonomous Bolt Gets Ticketed

According to a local news source, KPIX, an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt that was being tested by General Motor's autonomous arm, Cruise Automation, received a ticket for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The company is fighting the ticket and claims that it has the data to prove that the vehicle is innocent. 

The report claims that the driverless Bolt, which was operating in its autonomous mode, was pulled over in San Francisco towards the end of March, as the officer saw the driverless machine cut a woman off who was walking on a crosswalk. Apparently, Cruise doesn't see the situation in the same light and states that it has data to corroborate its story. 

Here's what KPIX had to say about Cruise's side of the matter. "According to data collected by Cruise, the pedestrian was 10.8 feet away from the car when, while the car was in self-driving mode, it began to continue down Harrison at 14 th St. Shortly after the car accelerated, the officer pulled it over."

Business Insider, reports that the human test driver, who was behind the wheel at the time of the incident, received the ticket. Cruise claims that the driver did everything properly and wasn't at fault. It's known whether GM and Cruise will fight the ticket in court. 

There Are A Lot Of Unanswered Questions About Autonomoy

The incident comes at an interesting time for autonomous-vehicle testing, as none of these things have been hashed out — who gets tickets when an autonomous vehicle makes a mistake and how do police officers uphold regular laws? Well, we now have the answers to a few of those questions and the answers may not surprise people. 

Despite having high-tech systems and nearly everything under the sun to stop autonomous vehicles from breaking the law, it's up to the discretion of police officers to enforce modern rules. And since there's the possibility of human error when it comes to handing out tickets, driverless vehicles may be bullied. 

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 there." 

This isn't the first time a self-driving car has received a ticket. Goggle's autonomous vehicle was pulled over back in 2015 for driving too slowly. 

If Cruise does fight the ticket, it will be interesting to see how the situation plays out in court. If the judge throws the autonomous car's ticket out, it would reveal that judges, or at least that judge, puts a precedent over hard data instead of a police officer's word. Clearly, all of the incidents reveals that the United States desperately needs legislation to manage driverless machines. 

via: KPIX 5, Business Insider / Photo By: KPIX 5

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