Self-Driving Robotaxi Service Recalls Vehicles

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April 14, 2023
Edward Smith

Hundreds of Driverless Robotaxis Recalled After Accident

In March earlier this year, a self-driving Cruise vehicle collided with a public bus in San Francisco. Although no injuries were reported, General Motors Cruise LLC has taken the initiative to voluntarily recall hundreds of cars as a safety precaution.

What Caused the Vehicle to Hit the Bus?

Reports show a driverless Cruise robotaxi appeared to rear-end a San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority bus on March 23, in the middle of the day on Haight Street. A spokesperson said the crash was caused by a cruise autonomous vehicle’s software error incorrectly predicting the bus’s movement.

According to tech experts, robotaxi vehicles use a combination of radar and cameras to operate without a driver. The software in the cars is trained to react to different scenarios. Since the Muni bus has an unusual shape due to having two sections, its movement was not something the robotaxi had in its systems.

Following the accident, Cruise filed a voluntary recall with the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) to upgrade the software on 300 of its vehicles. Cruise says the testing shows this specific situation will not happen again.

The YouTube video from WION discusses General Motors’ decision to recall 300 vehicles following an accident with its self-driving robotaxi car.

Why Driverless Cars Get into Accidents

Autonomous or self-driving cars use advanced technology and sensors to navigate and operate on the road without human intervention. However, despite their sophisticated technology, there are several reasons why driverless cars may still get into accidents:

  • Technological Limitations: Autonomous cars rely on complex software and sensors to perceive their environment, make decisions, and control vehicles. However, these technologies may have limitations, such as inaccuracies in sensor data, software bugs, or hardware failures, which can result in incorrect decisions or actions by the autonomous system.
  • Uncertain Road Conditions: Driverless cars may face challenges in navigating through uncertain or changing road conditions, such as adverse weather conditions, construction zones, or unexpected obstacles on the road. These conditions may pose difficulties for the autonomous system to perceive and respond accurately.
  • Interaction with Human-Driven Vehicles: Autonomous cars must interact with other vehicles on the road, which may not always behave predictably. Human drivers may exhibit unpredictable behavior, such as sudden lane changes, aggressive driving, or failure to follow traffic rules, which can pose challenges for the autonomous system to anticipate and respond to.
  • Human Error or Intervention: While autonomous vehicles are designed to operate without human intervention, there may be situations where human operators intervene or override the independent system’s decisions.
  • Other Road Users: Autonomous cars share the road with other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. The behavior of other road users may impact the performance of autonomous vehicles, resulting in accidents.

The overall safety of autonomous vehicles is a complex and evolving field, and advancements in technology, regulations, and industry standards are continually being developed to enhance their security.

Steps to Take After an Accident with a Driverless Car

If you have been involved in an accident with a driverless car, it is essential to take the following steps:

  • Prioritize your safety and those involved in the accident. If there are any injuries, call 911 immediately and seek medical attention for anyone who needs it.
  • Collect as much information as possible about the accident. This includes the make, model, and license plate number of the driverless car involved and the contact information of any witnesses. Take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to the vehicles involved.
  • Report the accident to local law enforcement. Even if it’s a minor accident, having an official record of the incident is essential.
  • Call your insurance company and provide them with all the accident details. If the driverless car involved in the accident is owned by a company or a third party, get their insurance information too.
  • Do not move any evidence from the accident scene unless law enforcement or emergency responders instruct. This includes leaving the vehicles in their current positions and not repairing the damage sustained.
  • Follow any legal procedures or requirements that may apply in your jurisdiction for accidents involving autonomous vehicles. This may include reporting the accident to the appropriate government agencies or following any specific legal processes related to autonomous vehicle accidents.
  • Keep detailed records of all communication, documentation, and expenses related to the car accident. This includes written and electronic communication with the other party, police, and insurance companies.
  • Consult with an injury attorney with experience with autonomous vehicle accidents. The legal implications of accidents involving driverless cars can be complex, and having professional legal guidance can help protect your rights and interests.

Northern California Personal Injury Attorney

I’m Ed Smith, a California Personal Injury Lawyer. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident involving a driverless or autonomous vehicle, our law firm is here to provide experienced legal representation. We are dedicated to helping our clients seek justice and fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Call us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

See how our injury attorneys have successfully helped clients obtain Verdicts and Settlements since 1982.

Photo by Brock Wegner on Unsplash

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