Following on the heels of the fatal accident in which one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona, police in San Francisco have said that a self-driving car owned by Cruise failed to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, and ticketed the human that was inside the self-driving car. Fortunately in this case the pedestrian was not injured.
Curiously, Uber and the family of the pedestrian that was struck and killed in Arizona have already settled, less than 2 weeks after the incident, which almost certainly means that a) Uber offered them an enormous amount of money, because b) Uber knew that they had certain liability. (You can read about that incident here.)
In the most recent incident, in San Francisco, according to Fox News, “The vehicle allegedly did not stop for a person in the crosswalk. However, Cruise, the car company involved, according to KPIX, maintained that the vehicle was in compliance with California state law.”
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The fact that Cruise, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GM, maintains that its self-driving car did nothing wrong technically, under the law, and that’s what they have to say about it, seems to speak volumes about what is most important to Cruise, and parent company GM.
While the vehicle did not strike the pedestrian, it failed to stop for the pedestrian, which suggests that if a pedestrian steps out in front of an autonomous vehicle expecting it to stop, and not, you know, hit the pedestrian, they do so at their own peril.
While Cruise maintains that their data shows that their car was 10.8 feet from the pedestrian during the incident, the officer who gave the car the ticket said that “We don’t look at or work with that data. It’s whatever the officer observed at the scene and from his observation, there was a violation.”
The bottom line is that the expectation of what was supposed to have happened was that the car was supposed to stop for the pedestrian, but did not, and Cruise is saying that because the car came only within 10.8 feet of the pedestrian, no harm, no foul.
“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,” said Cruise in a statement issued to news stations.
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