GM driverless car legal suite “settled”

Written by NTN staff

General Motors has settled a legal action that resulted after one of its self-driving vehicles knocked over a motorcyclist in California.

The company was sued by Oscar Nilsson after the collision with the GM Cruise car in December 2017. Nilsson sustained neck and shoulder injuries that needed lengthy treatment and caused him to take time off work.

GM alleged the motorcyclist was partly at fault for the crash, who was moving into the space the car had been moving out of while changing lanes in heavy traffic on a San Francisco motorway. The motor company said the settlement had resulted from a mutual desire by both parties to resolve the legal action. According to Reuters, the final details of the settlement are yet to be reached however but case should be concluded by the end of June.

The BBC reports that about 40 crashes involving self-driving cars have taken place in California since January 2017. Records show 33 of the cars involved were GM Cruise vehicles, but none has been found to have been responsible for any of the crashes.

Tesla has also been involved in similar incidents and in March an Uber vehicle was involved in the first fatality after one of its test cars killed a 49-year-old pedestrian. A preliminary report by the US National Transportation Safety Board identified issues with Uber’s sensor suite, which spotted a potential hazard ahead but failed to slow or stop as it raced towards her at speeds of about 40mph (64kph) in Pittsburgh, Arizona. The car’s perception system, which involved laser-based Lidar as well as radar, did not correctly identify the object it saw as a person pushing a bicycle, the NTSB said. 

Uber aims to resume testing this summer and it is so far unclear what legal implications will be borne from that fatal incident.