Many experts believe that driverless autonomous vehicles—which are actually self-driving—will be a massive part of the future of transportation. However, a large portion of the population may not be ready put their complete trust in an AI to get them to their destination safely. Especially when companies like General Motors have to issue recalls for their robotaxi fleets after public crashes, which is what has now happened with Cruise’s Chevy Bolt EVs.
The lack of trust in autonomous vehicles is exactly why startups like Waymo and Motional are setting up test markets in high traffic locales such as San Francisco and Las Vegas. These startups not only want build data but to also gain approval of safety regulators and prove that driverless “robotaxis” can be safely deployed at scale.
However, it looks like one of the leading autonomous driving companies just suffered a significant set back. According to a report from Reuters, the GM’s Cruise autonomous driving firm recently announced that it recalled 80 of its Chevrolet Bolt EV-based self-driving vehicles for a software update after a crash in San Francisco that injured two people.
Regulators said that Cruise’s software would “incorrectly predict” the path of an oncoming vehicle. Specifically, “in certain circumstances when making an unprotected left, cause the (autonomous driving system) to incorrectly predict another vehicle’s path or be insufficiently reactive to the sudden path change of a road user,” said NHTSA.
Cruise said the software issue caused the vehicle to brake hard while performing an unprotected left turn that it thought would be necessary to avoid a front-end collision.
Essentially, the vehicle “had to decide between two different risk scenarios and chose the one with the least potential for a serious collision at the time, before the oncoming vehicle’s sudden change of direction,” said Cruise.
The autonomous driving firm also made sure to note the police report for the crash that stated the party “mostly at fault” for the incident was the other car which was traveling at 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.
After the crash occurred, Cruise said it temporarily disabled unprotected left turns in its autonomous vehicles and reduced the area in which the vehicles were allowed to operate. After the recall and the software update, Cruise said it “gradually reintroduced” unprotected left turns on its vehicles.
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