GM’s Cruise Automation Doubles Test Fleet, Reports More Collisions

GM’s Cruise Automation is doubling its autonomous test fleet and reports that the test fleet was involved in more collisions last month.

Cruise Automation is General Motors’ self-driving unit. Cruise has been testing self-driving vehicles in San Francisco, in order to develop software for urban environments.

In the last three months, Cruise has increased its number of registered self-driving test cars. It had between 30 and 40 before, but GM spokesperson Ray Wert told Reuters that Cruise now had 100 vehicles in the fleet.

Cruise uses Chevrolet Bolt EVs that were built on a traditional GM assembly line – a big step in the development of autonomous vehicles.

Last week, a U.S. Senate panel approved legislation that will let automakers expand their self-driving car testing.

With more test cars comes more interactions with the not-quite-autonomous public. That has led to more collisions involving GM’s test fleet. California requires automakers to report all such collisions, regardless of how severe they were, so details of the collisions have been reported to regulators.

SEE ALSO: Cruise Automation Claims First Production Self-Driving Car

GM’s test cars were involved in six collisions last month. That’s a sharp jump, as the Cruise autonomous cars were involved in just seven over the rest of the year, according to Reuters. Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving arm, has had their vehicles involved in just three.

Most of the collisions were from other vehicles hitting the Cruise test cars that were slowing down. For pedestrians, road signs, or for other issues. One saw an autonomous Bolt EV struck by a pickup driver on a cell phone, while the Bolt was stopped at a red light.

Another collision saw a drunk cyclist heading the wrong way, straight at the Bolt. The Bolt was stopped by the human driver, but the cyclist hit the car and fell over. The cyclist ended up breaking one of the car’s sensors in the process.

“While we look forward to the day when autonomous vehicles are commonplace, the streets we drive on today are not so simple, and we will continue to learn how humans drive and improve how we share the road together,” GM said to Reuters in a statement.



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