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San Francisco Motorcyclist Sues GM After Crash with Self-Driving Bolt

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GM’s self-driving Chevy Bolt
Photo: Digital Trends

Any time a self-driving vehicle gets into a crash, the incident becomes the object of great scrutiny – the state of California even requires operators of self-driving test fleets like Google and GM to report every single collision, no matter how minor. Up until now, the few crashes that have happened have been blamed on human error.

Now, though, a motorcyclist named Oscar Nilsson is suing GM after a collision with a self-driving car, blaming the company for the collision.

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As described in the court documents, the crash went more or less like this: Nilsson was riding behind the self-driving Bolt when the Bolt started to change lanes to the left. Via the court documents, Nilsson said that, “Once the Self-Driving Vehicle cleared the roadway” he sped up to go straight, when the Bolt aborted the lane change and came back, running into the motorcycle. Nilsson fell and hurt his neck and shoulder.

The San Francisco Police Department report on the incident blamed the collision on Nilsson, saying that he passed the vehicle on the right when it wasn’t safe to do so, although Nilsson’s lawyer Sergei Lemberg is disputing that finding, claiming that the report should have held GM responsible, since after the Bolt started to move back into the lane, the backup driver tried to avert a collision by grabbing the wheel, but it was too late.

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On the other side, GM claims that the car was “re-centering itself,” that Nilsson had been riding between two lanes in the heavy traffic, and then “moved into the center lane, glanced the side of the Cruise … wobbled, and fell over.” The crash report from GM said that the Bolt was traveling at 12 mph, while Nilsson was riding at 17 mph when the collision occurred.

News Sources: Jalopnik, Mercury News