Cruise, the subsidiary of General Motors specializing in autonomous driving, the first to have obtained authorization to transport paying passengers on board its robotaxis in San Francisco, sent a notice at the beginning of the week to the American agency in charge of Highway Safety (NHTSA), which took note in a letter dated Wednesday.
Cruise explains that one of his cars was hit on June 3 from the rear by another vehicle after suddenly braking while turning to the left to avoid colliding head-on with this other vehicle arriving on the road. crossroads. According to a report submitted to a Californian agency, two people were slightly injured.
Police determined that the other vehicle was primarily responsible for the crash as it was not in the correct lane and was traveling over the speed limit. NHTSA did not completely exclude Cruise’s liability, however, saying its software could, “under certain circumstances when turning left unprotected, causing the self-driving system to mispredict the path of another vehicle or not be responsive enough to a driver’s sudden change of direction”.
Tesla is in turmoil
Troubles that echo those of Tesla. The California Motor Vehicle Agency (DMV) in early August accused the automaker of lying to consumers about its self-driving technologies, and filed suit with a state administrative court.
Tesla « has made or disseminated statements that are false or misleading, and not based on fact “, said the DMV in these complaints filed on July 28, said the Los Angeles Times. Tesla cars could never, ” and cannot today operate as autonomous vehicles “, According to the document quoted by the American media.
The DMV criticizes Tesla for advertising language that gives these systems broader performance than they actually have. A victory for the Californian authority against the manufacturer of electric vehicles could have severe consequences, going as far as the revocation of the licenses authorizing Tesla to manufacture or sell its cars in California, further indicates the LA Timeswhich specifies that the measures envisaged concern rather the precision of the information that the manufacturer will have to provide to its customers.
Additionally, according to a June report from the US Highway Safety Agency, Tesla-branded vehicles equipped with self-driving software were involved in 273 crashes in the United States.
In June, Tesla boss Elon Musk highlighted the importance of fully self-driving to the company, adding that without it, his company’s value would be ” close to zero ».
Apple is not there
Cruise and Tesla are not the only ones to covet this market. But Apple’s top-secret car project is still a long way off after eight years of big ambitions and changes in direction. Unlike its competitors, the Apple brand intends to market cars that are already fully autonomous.
According to the specialized site The Information, which says it spoke to about twenty people who were part of the project, Apple, which has never admitted to working on a self-driving car project, has sinned in several areas, but it is above all the autonomy software, supposed to detect potential obstacles and adjust driving accordingly, which is a problem for him.
The project, baptized Titan, would have suffered from too big ambitions, like trying to build a completely new car, and from many departures of experienced executives, in particular because of the lack of support from the leaders. Apple is testing its prototypes with a backup driver in Los Angeles, San Diego and around Lake Tahoe. But earlier this year, one of them nearly ran over a pedestrian at 25 km/h, and an internal investigation determined that the incident would have taken place without the last-minute intervention of the employee behind the wheel. .
Volkswagen could enter the race
The competition is on the lookout. By giving up a fraction of its control over Porsche, Volkswagen could thus obtain the billions necessary to finance its investments in the electric, connected and autonomous car. The Wolfsburg group makes no secret of wanting to use this windfall to bring itself up to the level of the American Tesla and its Chinese competitors, which are more advanced in these areas.
AUTONOMOUS SHUTTLES CIRCULATE IN INDRE
Several municipalities in Indre are experimenting until the end of 2022 with an automatic shuttle service presented as a world first. Without ever exceeding 50 km/h, a pink, green and blue van crosses the Brenne and its ponds, without a driver. However, for security reasons, a “operator” still sits behind a steering wheel that turns by itself. For example, it takes control when the shuttle has to pass a badly parked vehicle. As for the pedals, they sink and rise without touching them, all on a 17-kilometre journey covered in 36 minutes.
Free for users, the service, in place until December 31, cost nearly 800,000 euros, half of which was invested by the Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (Ademe) as part of the program Autonomous shuttle experiments (ENA).
“We are not looking for a technical experimentation but rather a societal one”explains Jean-Bernard Constant, digital manager at the Coeur de Brenne community of municipalities. “There are 150 experiments in France. On the other hand very little on rurality. And so many kilometers on open roads, it’s a world first. » He adds : “We have residents who don’t have a mobility solution at all and who use it on a regular basis. The next step is for the operator behind the wheel to be behind a screen and manage multiple shuttles. There we will have a real logic of territorial development of the future “.