Autonomous Car

GM Settles Self-Driving Crash Lawsuit Involving Motorcyclist

Settled out of court, the crash leaves many questions unanswered.

With a number of high-profile self-driving vehicle accidents grabbing the headlines in recent months you would be forgiven for forgetting about the crash that took place between a motorcyclist and one of GM’s autonomous Chevy Bolts. To recap, one Oscar Nilsson was riding behind an all-electric Chevy Bolt in heavy morning traffic in San Francisco on the December 7 last year. The Bolt attempted to switch lanes but aborted the maneuver at the last minute and tried to return to its original lane.

By this time Nilsson was already alongside and despite the GM employee trying to steer away again, the two touched. Nilsson fell off his bike and suffered some minor injuries. A crash report was filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles although GM did not admit fault and said that the motorcycle rider had glanced the side of the car and then fallen over. The details of the course of events have been hotly contested ever since and it was perhaps inevitable that Nilsson filed a lawsuit. In it he claimed that he had suffered from shoulder and neck injuries which would require lengthy treatment and time off from work.

According to an Automotive News report, the lawsuit came at a sensitive time in GMs rollout of its autonomous vehicles and of the approximately 40 accidents with self-driving vehicles that had been reported in 2017, 33 had involved GM’s cars. While those accidents had all been blamed on human error, the less clear-cut nature of this accident meant that GM could ill-afford to fight a battle that may shed more negative light on autonomous tech even if it was totally in the clear. The resultant out of court settlement is a first involving autonomous vehicles and while the exact details have not been revealed, it is definitely not going to be the last.

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