Humanity is fighting back against the robot car takeover. At least in California.
According to LA Times, six crash reports to California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, and two incidents involved a human attacking a self-driving car.
Now, from the descriptions of the events, it sounds a lot more like these are just regular old road-rage incidents and not a person recognizing the existential threat to humanity that artificial intelligence represents and is trying to get them before they can get us. But it helps to think of these people as misunderstood heroes rather than just petty vandals.
In the end, it’ll speak volumes about yourself as to which side of the fence you think these two incidents fall.
On Jan. 2, 2018, a Chevy Bolt Autonomous EV operated by General Motors was waiting at a stoplight for a pedestrian to cross the road in San Francisco’s Mission District. While the autonomous car was just sitting there patiently waiting for the pedestrian to cross, another pedestrian "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."
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California law requires that all incidents involving an autonomous vehicle be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, however minor or inconsequential. The dude who bodily rammed the Chevy managed to take out a tail light. There were no reported injuries to the crazy pedestrian or the guy sitting inside the Bolt.
In another incident Jan. 28, 2018, a GM Cruise Bolt Autonomous EV was once again in San Francisco patiently waiting behind a taxi when "the driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch.” Once again, there were no injuries.
At both incidents, the cars were in self-driving mode, but still had human drivers sitting at the steering wheel in case things went wrong. Perhaps the noble humans thought that these nefarious self-driving cars had kidnapped their human passengers and were attempting to free them?
However, starting April 2, 2018, California will begin allowing driverless cars to truly become driverless. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to the frequency of attacks when there’s nobody behind the wheel to discourage them.