A bicyclist suffered minor injuries last month when its rider hit the rear of a self-driving car that had come to a sudden stop in the middle of a South-of-Market intersection, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
The revelation, first reported by Bay City News, came as a result of the state’s rigorous program for tracking autonomous vehicles. The report said a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV equipped with autonomous driving technology was under way on May 25 at around 5:30 p.m. when the collision took place. The Bolt was heading north on 11th Street and was making a left turn onto Mission Street in the outer of two turn lanes.
At the same time, another vehicle in the inner turn lane started to cut in front of the Bolt, causing it to brake suddenly. That, in turn, caused the bicyclist, who had been following closely behind, to plow into the rear of the Chevy.
The vehicle’s occupant reported that the bicyclist suffered a scraped knee but neither police nor paramedics were called to the scene. The Bolt sustained a small scratch while the bicycle was not damaged, according to the DMV’s report. The Bolt is owned by GM Cruise LLC but it was not immediately clear what it was doing at the time, nor did the report include the identity of the occupants or the name and age of the bicyclist.
The DMV requires companies to obtain permits before testing autonomous vehicles in California and tracks data including collisions, making that information publicly available. GM Cruise has been testing Bolt EV prototypes equipped with autonomous driving technology in cities including San Francisco since last year.
An exterior view of the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt all-electric car, which boasts a greater range than the base-model Tesla Model S. The Bolt is said to be able to travel 238 miles on a full charge. (Troy Wolverton/Bay Area News Group)
According to the DMV’s incident database, which lists 31 incidents since October 2014, the GM vehicles have been involved in three other collisions in San Francisco so far this year. Of the six incidents reported in 2017, none were serious and all were the fault of the other human-driven vehicle, not the autonomous car.
In April, at the same time California said it had approved an $8-million incentive package for GM, the company’s Cruise startup announced it would add 1,100 new self-driving tech jobs to Silicon Valley, placing the iconic automaker in direct competition with autonomous-vehicle initiatives like Google’s Waymo unit. The move will also accelerate an ongoing battle for talent as more companies seek hard-to-find engineers skilled in self-driving technology.
GM’s Cruise Automation, bought by the biggest U.S. automaker for about $580 million in early 2016, has told California officials that it wants to invest $14 million to expand operations in San Francisco, Forbes reported. The news means GM’s total workforce in California would rocket from 485 employees in 2016 to 1,648 by 2021.