Autonomous car development is having a rough month. From a self-driving Uber striking and killing a pedestrian in Arizona to Tesla's Autopilot being engaged in a fatal crash in California, the news just keeps piling up. Now, an autonomous Chevy Bolt by GM's autonomous division, Cruise, has been ticketed according to local news. The company disagrees and says it has the data to prove that no wrongdoing occurred.
The car was pulled over by an officer on the streets of San Francisco for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, according to reports. Cruise feels that this is an incorrect assertation of events. The Bolt was in an autonomous driving mode, meaning that its sensors were collecting data as it drove down the street and the car logged the information as it used it to make decisions on just how to operate. The data it collected suggests that the pedestrian was 10.8 feet away from the car while it passed through the intersection, insinuating that the car did nothing wrong.
“Safety is our priority in testing our self-driving vehicles," Cruise said in a statement. "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.”
One concern that many have is the ability for autonomous cars to be "bullied" by pedestrians who walk into traffic or are otherwise aggressive with oncoming cars. As long as the technology is working right, we should be seeing autonomy being more adaptive to pedestrians who are in its path. Cruise stated that its systems were functioning as intended and followed all laws pertaining to pedestrians.
The driver behind the wheel of the Bolt has been issued a ticket, according to the Bay Area news station. This brings into question just who should be held responsible for scenarios such as the one which Cruise found themselves in. If a ticket is issued, whether valid or not, while a car is in an autonomous driving mode, who is ultimately responsible for the illegal maneuver? Should drivers be expected to override the vehicle? These are all questions which further elaborate on the need for legislation surrounding self-driving cars.