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Motorcycle News

A sign of things to come?

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A sign of things to come?

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AUTONOMOUS vehicles will surely mean the end of blind-spot crashes, where a driver moves into a space not realising a motorcycle is doing the same?

Maybe. Or maybe not.

A motorcyclist was blamed for a collision with a driverless car in California which happened when the autonomous vehicle moved into a lane of traffic at the same time as the rider.

An accident report by the car’s maker, San Francisco-based Cruise Automation, says the self-driving Chevrolet Bolt was using the middle of three lanes when it detected a gap to its left. The driverless car began to move into the left-hand lane, only for the gap to shrink as another vehicle changed its speed.

As a result, the Cruise autonomous vehicle aborted the manoeuvre and moved back into the middle lane, just as a motorcycle was doing the same from the other side.

The motorcycle ‘glanced the side of the Cruise AV, wobbled, and fell over,’ the report says. The rider was able to walk away complaining of shoulder pain.

The motorcyclist had been lane splitting, or filtering as its referred to in the UK, immediately before the crash, on December 7th on a busy road in San Francisco. Although filtering is legal in California, the rider was deemed at fault by police for ‘attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety’.

The car had been travelling at 12mph and the motorcycle approximately 17mph, according to the report, filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and published on the government department’s website.

The report says: ‘The Cruise AV was traveling in the centre of three one-way lanes. Identifying a space between two vehicles (a minivan in front and a sedan behind) in the left lane, the Cruise AV began to merge into that lane. At the same time, the minivan decelerated. Sensing that its gap was closing, the Cruise AV stopped making its lane change and returned fully to the centre lane. As the Cruise AV was re-centring itself in the lane, a motorcycle that that had just lane-split between two vehicles in the centre and right lanes moved into the centre lane, glanced the side of the Cruise AV, wobbled, and fell over.’

It concludes: ‘The motorcyclist was determined to be at fault for attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety in violation of CVC 21755(a).’

The report's signed by Kevin Chu, Associate Director of AV Engineering at Cruise Automation.

Cruise Automation owner General Motors issued a statement saying: ‘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.’

Perhaps they need to teach the cars to say “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you."

   Update Reply
Lindsay @ 30/12/2017 09:49  

Sounds like a big corporation paying for the right outcome to the case, If it had been the car at fault that would be the end of the driverless car.

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JP @ 30/12/2017 10:00  

Yes agree JP....... It's turning into bladerunner and fifth element out there!!

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Deleted Member @ 30/12/2017 11:05  

Not very clever if it keeps changing it's mind on which lane to be in.

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cw @ 30/12/2017 14:54  

You have to remember Chris it was programed by a car driver so what do you expect

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JP @ 30/12/2017 15:27  

That's very true Jp. I wonder have they took into account push bikes, motorbikes and LGV. They all act very differently on the road.

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cw @ 30/12/2017 15:48  

Driverless cars are the future - they are safer for the passenger. We can't have unpredictable vehicles such as motorcycles, so the best thing to do is ban them . . . . .that's where it's leading to.

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GHW @ 30/12/2017 17:08  

I'm not convinced.
If the car had had a driver he would have done the same thing if someone had closed off his planned move.
The rider should have waited till the car completed his lane change before moving into the space. Or at least have been prepared and either accelerated or braked to a safe space.
Sorry its a rider fault.
At least he wasn't badly hurt.

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Steve_H @ 30/12/2017 17:32  

Let's hope the driverless cars here in the UK are set up for the UK road traffic act one not US or certain European traffic regulations. Or we are all FUBARD!

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Deleted Member @ 30/12/2017 19:11  

I hope so Stuie or they will be driving on the wrong side of the road!
It'll be fun to see one on The Island and dealing with the inevitable German giving it a handful on the wrong side.
And it is only the Germans, possibly because they are as much beer crazed, speed freaks as us :-)

   Update Reply
Steve_H @ 30/12/2017 21:11  

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