The California Department of Motor Vehicles has reported a total of six accidents that involved fully autonomous vehicles. According to the Los Angeles Times, the reports of two of these incidents claim the human approached the vehicle and physically attacked it.
One of the incidents, which took place on January 2, 2018, involved a Chevy Bolt EV operated by General Motors’ Cruise driverless car division. The vehicle 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,” according to the report. The incident resulted in significant damage to the car’s tail light.
There was a driver behind the wheel at the time of the incident but the car was in autonomous mode when the attack took place. The report also stated that no one was injured and the police were not called.
The second reported incident occurred on January 28, 2018 and involved a GM Cruise Bolt EV with a human driving the autonomous vehicle. The car was stopped behind a taxi on Duboce Avenue in San Francisco, when “the driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch”. Again, there were no reported injuries and no law enforcement was called upon the time of the accident.
The four other incidents that didn't involve human attacks were minor accidents that only harmed the fender.
The news of the incident comes after the February announcement that California state regulators approved a resolution allowing driverless cars to be tested for the first time without a person behind the wheel.
Up until now self-driving cars were only allowed to be tested on public roads in the state if a person was sitting behind the wheel while it was being operated.
“This is a major step forward for autonomous technology in California,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto in a statement. “Safety is our top concern and we are ready to begin working with manufacturers that are prepared to test fully driverless vehicles in California.”
Starting on April 2, automakers will be legally allowed to test autonomous vehicles without a human driver on board. However, crash-reports will still be required in the event of an incident.