What was once something from the future is quickly becoming a common idea: self driving cars. However, the questions are still being asked. Are they safe? The answer is yes. These smart cars are equipped with many safety features and can drive better than most human drivers currently on the roads.
All jokes aside, one accident involving one of these self driving cars is making headlines. Spoiler alert, authorities have ruled that the self driving car was not at fault for the accident involving a motorcyclist. The event is being used as an example of the safety of these smart cars.
The accident being discussed took place on a San Francisco street intersection back on December 7th . According to the official collision report published on the California Department of Motor Vehicles’ website, the two vehicles involved were Cruise Automation’s Chevrolet Bolt EV and a 1996 Honda S90. The report explains the details of the accident and nothing seems too extreme.
The report states that the Chevrolet Bolt was in automatic mode and was preparing to change lanes on the three lane road. As the car prepared to move from the center lane to the left lane, the car detected that the distance between others cars was no longer safe and aborted its lane change. As the Bolt returned back to its the center lane, it collided with the Honda S90 motorcycle. Fortunately, both vehicles were traveling at very low rates of speed, both below 5 miles per hour. The impact from the Bolt as it returned to its lane only caused the motorcycle to wobble. The motorcyclist was not injured and the bike only had minor damage. The motorcyclist was said to have been 1 “lane splitting”, a common practice of motorcyclists to cut through traffic in various lanes. The controversial practice is legal in California. However, several auto accidents have been blamed on this action.
As proper accident protocol, 911 was called and an accident report was filled out. Upon a formal traffic accident investigation, the self driving car was found to be completely faultless. A huge win for those autonomous car advocates.
The most important thing to take from this incident is the fact that the self driving care was not found to be at any fault for the accident. In fact, this accident is the perfect example of how the safety features for these vehicles can help prevent accidents from being much worse than they could be with traditional drivers.
According to CNET, a spokesperson for General Motors wrote in a statement, “At Cruise, we test our self-driving cars in challenging and unpredictable environments precisely because by doing so we will get better, safer AV technology on the roads sooner. In this case, the motorcyclist merged into our lane before it was safe to do so.”
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