The race to develop self-driving vehicles has taken a bizarre turn in California.
So far in 2018, companies testing autonomous vehicles have reported seven collisions to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), as required by state law. Two of those collisions have involved a human attacking the vehicle.
On Jan. 2 in San Francisco, a GM Cruise self-driving vehicle operating in autonomous mode was waiting for pedestrians to cross the street so it could make a right-hand turn. That’s when a man “ran across Valencia Street, against the ‘Do Not Walk’ symbol, shouting, and struck the left side of the Cruise AV’s rear bumper and hatch with his entire body,” according to a report filed by GM Cruise.
No one was injured, according to the report, but the self-driving vehicle “sustained some damage to its left rear light.”
On Jan. 28 in San Francisco, a GM Cruise autonomous vehicle operating in manual mode was stopped behind a taxi when the taxi driver “exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch,” according to a report filed by GM Cruise.
There were no injuries in that incident either.
Since September 2014, companies have been able to apply for permits to test and deploy autonomous vehicles on California roads, as long as there’s a driver behind the wheel. Starting April 2, new regulations will allow companies to test and deploy autonomous vehicles with no driver behind the wheel.
As of March 6, the California DMV has received 59 reports of collisions involving autonomous vehicles, according to the agency.