Category Archives: Selfdriving

Motorcyclist hit by self-driving car in SF sues General Motors

A motorcyclist who collided with a General Motors self-driving car after it aborted a lane change while driving autonomously in San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against the car maker.

General Motors and its Cruise subsidiary have had a permit to test autonomous vehicles on California roads since June 2015, and have 110 vehicles and 300 test drivers approved for testing, according to the DMV.

Motorcyclist Oscar Nilsson of San Francisco claims in the suit that a GM Cruise Chevrolet Bolt he was riding behind Dec. 7 on Oak Street changed lanes to the left, and when he rode forward, the Bolt suddenly veered back into his lane and knocked him to the ground.

The Bolt driver’s hands had been off the steering wheel, and he’d “commanded” the vehicle to change lanes to the left, before it abruptly returned to the right-hand lane, Nilsson claimed in the suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

A crash report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles by General Motors provided a much different view of the accident. The company acknowledged that the car, in autonomous-driving mode in heavy traffic, had aborted a lane change. But GM said that as its car was “re-centering itself” in the lane, Nilsson, who had been riding between two lanes in a legal-in-California practice known as lane-splitting, “moved into the center lane, glanced the side of the Cruise … wobbled, and fell over.”

The car maker claimed that a collision report assigned blame to Nilsson, because he purportedly overtook and passed a vehicle “under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety.”

San Francisco police did not immediately respond to a request for information about the collision and whether fault was determined.

General Motors did not immediately answer questions about the incident and the lawsuit. The company’s Cruise subsidiary has been running a “Cruise Anywhere” program since August for employees, which allows them to hail automated Cruise vehicles and be driven anywhere in San Francisco. It was unclear whether the vehicle involved in the accident was part of this program.

It was also unclear if the Bolt in question was one of the “third-generation” automated vehicles described in September by Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt as “the world’s first mass-producible car designed to operate without a driver.” Those vehicles were intended to be used in the “Cruise Anywhere” program, Vogt wrote in a Medium post.

California still requires autonomous vehicles to have a driver behind the wheel to take over as necessary.

While Google took an early lead in autonomous driving with a program now spun off into its own company, Waymo, GM’s manufacturing capabilities and business strategy have pushed Cruise ahead, according to a report by market-research firm Navigant Research in January.

Nilsson claimed in his lawsuit that he suffered neck and shoulder injuries from the crash, which will require “lengthy treatment,” and that he has had to go on disability leave from work.

According to GM’s crash report, the Bolt was traveling at 12 miles per hour, while Nilsson had been driving at 17 miles per hour. After the collision, Nilsson “got up and walked his vehicle to the side of the road” and “reported shoulder pain and was taken to receive medical care.”


A Tesla owner’s excuse for his DUI crash: The car was driving

  1. A Tesla owner’s excuse for his DUI crash: The car was driving  Washington Post
  2. Tesla ‘on Autopilot’ slams into parked fire truck on freeway  The Mercury News
  3. Tesla Driver, Passed Out Drunk, Tells Highway Patrol Autopilot Was in Charge  Fortune
  4. Man Arrested on Suspicion of DUI on Bay Bridge Told CHP His Tesla Was on Autopilot  KTLA
  5. Full coverage

Uber CEO expects self-driving cars to start picking up passengers in 18 months. Flying cars? 5-7 years

Dara Khosrowshahi speaks at the 2016 GeekWire Summit. (GeekWire Photo)

The last generation of kids who will need to learn to drive has already been born, as far as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is concerned.

He’s incredibly bullish on self-driving cars and expects Uber to begin putting them into service within 18 months. Khosrowshahi shared his ambitions in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait at The Year Ahead 2018 conference.

“We will have autonomous cars on the road, I believe, within the next 18 months,” Khosrowshahi said. “Not as a test case but as a real case out there.” Though he noted, “true autonomy for every single use case is some ways away.”

Uber has already started sending some self-driving cars to users who request them through the app in Tempe, Ariz. But those vehicles come with two Uber engineers in the front seats in case of emergency.



In markets where Uber is testing self driving cars, Khosrowshahi anticipates around five percent of trips requested by passengers will make sense for autonomous cars without a human driver playing backup. In Phoenix or Pittsburgh, for example, a user might request a ride and 95 percent of the time weather, road conditions, or other factors will require a human driver.

“For five percent of cases, everything is going to fall into place and we will send an autonomous car,” Khosrowshahi said, noting that the rider will have the option to chose, human or self-driving car.

Over time, that five percent will grow and autonomous vehicles will learn the city where they drive. That learning period — Khosrowshahi anticipates it will take about five years — will have to be replicated in each city where Uber deploys self-driving cars.

He thinks “it’ll take 10-15 years” for Uber’s autonomous vehicles to become ubiquitous.

Uber’s ambitions don’t end with that audacious goal. The company is also speeding ahead with Uber Elevate, an initiative to make flying cars (you might call them helicopters) a reality. Uber is developing smaller, quieter rotors that allow the “vertical takeoff and landing” aircraft to operate more realistically in populated areas.

“If you add sharing into the equation you can actually get the economics of going from A to B,” Khosrowshahi said. “We think within five-to-seven years to a place where normal people would think about taking these flying cars. That’ll be the beginning and then it’s about scaling.”

Khosrowshahi took the helm at Uber last summer after former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned amid a series of scandals. In the fall, Khosrowshahi posted new “cultural norms” to help guide the company as it tries to get back on track.

In his interview with Bloomberg, Khosrowshahi said he wants to take the next year to return to “normalcy,” “get rid of the distractions,” and “get the company back to business.” After that? The sky is the limit.

Uber CEO hopes to have self-driving cars in service in 18 months

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was speaking to Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait today at the new outlet’s event #TheYearAhead event, and he shared some more information about Uber’s plans around autonomy, and autonomous ride-hailing service rollout.

“True autonomy for every single use case, is some ways away,” Khosrowshahi began, acknowledging that the problem is a massive one to solve. But, he suggested that the first Uber autonomous vehicles to be deployed commercially would be on streets relatively soon.

“We will have autonomous cars on the road, I believe within the next 18 months,” he said. “And not as a test case, as a real [use] case out there.”

Uber has put its autonomous vehicles on roads in a testing capacity in a number of different pilot projects, including most recently in Arizona. Khosrowshahi described how this will lead to a “feathering in” of autonomous vehicles in their ride-hailing mix, with the aim of eventually giving over a greater portion of rides to AVs.

The Uber CEO described how in, for example, Phoenix, there will be 95% of cases where the company may not have everything mapped perfectly, or the weather might not be perfect, or there could be other factors that will mean Uber will opt to send a driver. “But in 5 percent of cases, we’ll send an autonomous car,” Khosrowshahi said, when everything’s just right, and still the user will be able to choose whether they get an AV or a regular car.

That initial 5 percent is going to grow to 10, to 15 and 20 as Uber’s algorithms learn more about what it takes to drive in a real-world situation, he said, and then “in five years, we will have the perfect driver in Phoenix.”

Khosrowshahi added that Uber will then have to retrain its computer driver in every city, and that he then expects within 10 to 15 years to be able to serve most cities competently with autonomous tech. Asked whether child born today would even have to learn how to drive, Khosrowshahi confidently said he didn’t believe they would.

Visteon to Work with GAC Engineering on Autonomous Driving Solutions

Visteon has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with leading Chinese vehicle manufacturer, Guangzhou Automobile Group Automotive Engineering Institute (GAC Engineering), to collaborate on the development and deployment of autonomous driving and other cockpit electronics solutions.

As part of the deal, both companies will work on the development of autonomous driving solutions based on Visteon’s DriveCore technology platform. Visteon had launched this platform at CES 2018 with the intention of having it integrated into vehicles by 2020.
Both companies will also explore other potential avenues for working together including instrument clusters, displays, augmented reality head-up displays and domain controllers using Visteon’s SmartCore technology.
The agreement for mutual coop[eration between the two companies was signed by Sachin Lawande, president and CEO of Visteon, and Wang Qiujing, president of GAC Engineering on the sidelines of CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lawande said that as a fast-growing, highly valued Chinese automotive manufacturer having a proven record of innovation, GAC Engineering’s efforts to develop intelligent and automated vehicles fully aligned with those of Visteon, which has a strong presence in China.

Qiujing said that Visteon’s technology innovation and strong presence in China aligned well with GAC Engineering’s vision for automotive technology development. He went on to express his belief that the agreement with Visteon would play an important role in promoting the rapid development of autonomous driving and cockpit electronics systems.

Initial engagement will focus on development of Level 3 and higher autonomous driving solutions and cockpit domain controller systems using Visteon’s industry-leading DriveCore and SmartCore technology platforms. The cooperative agreement with GAC furthers Visteon’s efforts to develop technology solutions addressing industry trends such as digitisation of the cockpit, consolidation of cockpit electronics components, and the transition to autonomous vehicles.