Not everyone is welcoming the robot technology that brings us self-driving, autonomous vehicles. According to reports from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the month on January, 2018 saw two separate incidents in which San Francisco residents physically “slapped” or “struck” an autonomous vehicle.
You will be either proud or ashamed to learn that San Francisco is the only city in California in which a human has been reported to commit an act of violence against an autonomous vehicle.
By DMV law, every collision involving a driverless car does have to reported, no matter how minor. The Los Angeles Times reports that there have been six collisions autonomous vehicles cars so far in 2018, and two of them were people playing Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots with the high-tech vehicles they love to hate.
One Jan. 2 incident report describes an attack on a General Motors Cruise autonomous car at Valencia and 16th Streets. A 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. There were no injuries but the Cruise AV sustained some damage to its left rear light. The police were not called.”
Then on Jan. 28, another GM Cruise vehicle was slapped — yes, slapped — by a taxi driver on Duboce Avenue. “The driver of the taxi exited his vehicle, approached the Cruise AV, and slapped the front passenger window, causing a scratch.” No one was hurt and the police were not called.
In both cases, the “driverless” cars did actually have a human being behind the wheel, as mandated by law. That law is set to change April 2, when driverless cars will be allowed to drive without people behind the wheel. It is unclear whether the cars in these incidents were in autonomous mode or manual mode.
It’s also unclear whether the assailants even realized these were driverless cars, or whether this was just typical San Francisco crazy behavior.