Oscar Nilsson ‘knocked to ground’ in San Francisco as company tested self-driving cars
Wed 24 Jan 2018
General Motors is facing one of the first lawsuits to involve an autonomous vehicle, after a collision between its Cruise self-driving car and a motorbike in California.
Motorcyclist Oscar Nilsson is suing GM stating that the Chevrolet Bolt, which was operating in autonomous mode with a backup driver behind the wheel, “suddenly veered back into Nilsson’s lane, striking Nilsson and knocking him to the ground”.
The accident happened on 7 December in heavy traffic in the Hayes Valley district of San Francisco, with the GM vehicle reportedly travelling at 12mph and the motorcycle 17mph. The accident report filed with the California disputes Nilsson’s claims.
The report states that the autonomous vehicle was driving in the centre of three one-way lanes. It attempted to move into the left lane when the available space was truncated by braking traffic, causing the GM car to abort its move and return to the centre of the middle lane.
“As the Cruise AV was re-centring itself in the lane, a motorcycle that that had just lane-split between two vehicles in the centre and right lanes moved into the centre lane, glanced the side of the Cruise AV, wobbled and fell over,” says the report. “The motorcyclist was determined to be at fault for attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety.”
Nilsson was able to walk his motorbike to the side of the road before exchanging information with the GM car’s occupants and receiving medical care for shoulder pain.
Nilsson’s lawyer Sergei Lemberg disputed the report. He told Mercury News: “I don’t know what a police officer can tell, after the fact.
“I don’t know that it’s fair to blame this act on the completely innocent person who’s just driving down the road and gets hit.”