Humans Already Slapped And Attacked Autonomous Cars In California Twice This Year

Photo: Alexander Koerner (Getty Images)

One of the benefits of California’s autonomous car regulations—though they could be vastly improved upon!—is that collisions with a robot vehicle must be reported to the state’s department of motor vehicles, even if they’re incredibly minor. That’s why we now know that, of the six incidents reported so far this year, two involve humans approaching robot cars and literally attacking them.

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That figure was highlighted this week in a brief story by the Los Angeles Times.

On Jan. 2, a Chevy Bolt EV operated by General Motors’ Cruise driverless car division in San Francisco’s Mission District was waiting at a green light for pedestrians to cross 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,” damaging a tail light, according to a report filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

No one was injured and police weren’t called. At the time, the Cruise vehicle was operating in autonomous mode but a safety driver was at the wheel—the current law that’ll change as early as April.

Three weeks later, another GM car was involved in an incident on Duboce Avenue, when, the report says, “the driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch.” Again no injuries were reported and police weren’t called.

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This doesn’t bode well for the future when more robot cars on on the road mixing with human drivers.

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About the author

Ryan Felton

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

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