back to article In Soviet California, pedestrian hits you! Bloke throws himself in front of self-driving car

While commuter buses ferrying Apple and Google employees have been rerouted to avoid being shot at – reportedly with a pellet gun – GM Cruise has had less success keeping one of its self-driving cars out of harm's way. Earlier this week, the autonomous vehicle subsidiary of automaker General Motors (GM) said that one of its …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Are we completely sure that this person didn't leap and strike the car in just the same way that bollards and telephone poles do - allegedly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I choose to believe the car. It's never lied to me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This happened to my parents who were lucky to live through the experience. A lamppost fell over and went through the windscreen of their car and went between them. A second earlier and it would have speared the engine and driven it up into the passenger compartment killing them both. A second later it would have directly hit one or both of them with the end result at those speeds being much the same.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        re: A lamppost fell over

        I blame George Formby.

        1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

          Re: re: A lamppost fell over

          Not Mussolini?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: A lamppost fell over

          @TRT

          I don't, I've got one of those George Formby grills, when it's finished cooking it says "Turned out nice again"

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: re: A lamppost fell over

            Just watch where you're holding your little stick of Blackpool rock, you wouldn't want to burn it.

            1. Mycho Silver badge

              Re: re: A lamppost fell over

              Long ago I inherited a car from a relative that had a dent from a student with headphones on running into it. No word on what he was listening to.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You May Be Entitled To Compensation

    San Francisco? Yep, sounds right. Any visit is always enlivened by the denizens on the street, but the best are found along the Embarcadero. Say Hi to Bush Man for me next time you're there.

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: You May Be Entitled To Compensation

      If you go to Fisherman's Wharf, you deserve everything you get.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you go to Fisherman's Wharf, you deserve everything you get.

        I go there on every visit. And once I've got what I deserve, I walk down to Ghirardelli's to get what I want.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its America

    'nuff said

    1. Byron "Jito463"

      Re: Its America

      Correction: it's San Fransisco, that's "nuff said".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its America

      Yep. Americans. Fucking numb-nuts the lot of 'em. And no, I am not generalising (with an s as it ought to be), it's all of 'em. The shit-holiest country there is currently led by the shittiest presidentI have ever had the misfortune to be alive in the era of (who would have thought they would manage to continue the logarithmic scale of stupidity starting with Reagan and then Bush Jr, to Trump??? I re-watch "Idiocracy" these days with a reverence to its accuracy at foretelling the shit-hole it has become.

      1. DryBones

        Re: Its America

        So, which country are you in, then? Some of us would like to return the myopic and rude generalizations.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @drybones

          generaliSations

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I re-watch "Idiocracy" these days with a reverence to its accuracy

        That exact thought ran through my mind as I read your comment.

      3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Its America

        ...The shit-holiest country there is currently led by the shittiest presidentI have ever had the misfortune to be alive in the era of (who would have thought they would manage to continue the logarithmic scale of stupidity starting with Reagan and then Bush Jr, to Trump???...

        In fact, the only thing worse would have been to have elcted that career criminal Hillary..

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "Hump or Death"

    The self-driving car edition!

  5. kain preacher Silver badge

    IT's SF. Pedestrians assume they have the right away even when the car has the green light . They will just step out and not even look.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "IT's SF. Pedestrians assume they have the right away even when the car has the green light . They will just step out and not even look."

      He ran into the rear bumper, so I think it's a little more interesting than that...

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

        I have misjudged gaps in traffic before and the car going past has slowed down but not me.

        Two sets of doorhandles on the nuts was the result.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Two sets of doorhandles on the nuts was the result."

          Came very close to that one day in the UK. Driver stopped at a pedestrian crossing. As soon as the person crossing had cleared his path - he accelerated away***. He had not checked that someone else had started to cross. Luckily I saw his mistake in time to stop as he rolled in front of me with a few inches clearance. He had an instantaneous sheepish look on his face.

          ***In the UK a driver is not allowed to go forward if anyone is anywhere on the crossing. In Sweden we used to stop to let a pedestrian cross - and wondered why they stopped and peeked past us before completing the crossing. Apparently you were allowed to drive over the crossing if a pedestrian was not in your direct path. An Israeli visitor to London was amazed that all the traffic stopped as soon as she stepped onto the crossing - even taxis. Enjoying the novelty she recrossed a couple of times until she was persuaded to let the traffic flow.

      2. kain preacher Silver badge

        So Dav crav

        It was a pissed off ped that was up set and tossed them self on the rear of the car.

      3. jmch Silver badge

        "He ran into the rear bumper, so I think it's a little more interesting than that..."

        According to the report he ran into the LEFTrear bumper and managed to break the RIGHT tail-light. So, even more interesting!

    2. Mark York 3 Silver badge
      Flame

      Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

      Pedestrians in Canada do have the right of way & look somewhat amazed if they get hit for stepping out without looking (& a 99% of them don't, you can tell who the Brits are as they actually look from left to right or vice versa as they cross).

      Also get fined for not using a crosswalk\jaywalking, even with nothing coming even I have found myself (after 9 years) semi conditioned to wait for the "walk" sign even when it's -25C outside (Hence the icon).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

        "[...] you can tell who the Brits are as they actually look from left to right or vice versa as they cross)"

        People sometimes tell me off for looking both ways before crossing a one-way street. My standard reply is "You know it is one way - I know it is one way - a car coming the wrong way obviously doesn't".

        1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          My first taxi ride in Paris

          "You know it is one way - I know it is one way - a car coming the wrong way obviously doesn't".

          On my first taxi ride in Paris we got to the end of the desired street, but there was a no entry sign and we were obviously supposed to go around the block and enter it from the other end.

          The taxi driver instead reversed the 200 metres up the street to deliver me to the right address.

          Logical , in a very Gallic way, the car was honouring the one way system by facing in the correct direction at all times.

          1. Michael Thibault

            Re: My first taxi ride in Paris

            "Logical , in a very Gallic way, the car was honouring the one way system by facing in the correct direction at all times."

            Not particularly Gallic; it's called "plausible deniability" almost everywhere. As in: "I was backing into a parking spot that was there once but isn't anymore... apparently".

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: My first taxi ride in Paris

              "As in: "I was backing into a parking spot that was there once but isn't anymore... apparently"."

              The one empty parking slot was temptingly just the other side of the No Entry sign. After going round the block and not finding the permitted entry point to the road it was still there...

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: My first taxi ride in Paris

            "The taxi driver instead reversed the 200 metres up the street to deliver me to the right address."

            IIRC in England there used to be a restriction on how far you were allowed to reverse on a road - something like 75 feet. The current version says "only as far as is necessary" - which sound like something for a proverbial horse and coach hole.

          3. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

            Re: My first taxi ride in Paris

            'facing in the correct direction',...

            My street is fed by a one way street. I see reversing along it quite frequently. Nearly as often as I see people driving the wrong way down it. Almost daily.

          4. Mike Moyle Silver badge

            Re: My first taxi ride in Paris

            Also common in metro Boston, Massachusetts. We ALSO learn early to look both ways when crossing one-way streets.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: looking both ways before crossing a one-way street.

          I always look both ways as well - the behaviour is so ingrained it is surprisingly hard not to. And fighting the reflex is much more distracting than a quick look the "wrong" way is.

        3. NXM

          Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

          Viz comic had a Top Tip years ago which went something like,'save time when crossing one-way streets by only looking in the direction the traffic is coming from.'

          On the opposite page was another one which said 'when crossing one-way streets, always look both ways to avoid being run over by a car going in the wrong direction.' It was addressed from Fulchester Hospital.

      2. a pressbutton

        Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

        Two things

        1

        If you can only cross the road at certain specified locations, that makes a road a much simpler environment - unlike the uk - and so might - just might - allow autonomous cars to work in the us

        2

        land of the free my fat arse

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

          On my only US visit (work not leisure) I got lots if strange looks for crossing roads in UK manner - which would be "Jay Walking" to a US person.

          i.e. road is "empty" of traffic, therefore I will cross it, as I'm human

          No way could I live in US, I would be bankrupt from fines for crossing empty roads at non approved points and not paying due deference to automobile overlords.

      3. Montreal Sean

        Re: Pedestrians - The Right Of Way

        In Montreal, Quebec, the highway code says that pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks.

        Most people don't look both ways before stepping off the curb, and most drivers don't pay attention to crosswalks.

        Montreal is a dangerous place to be a pedestrian, especially in winter.

  6. ma1010 Silver badge
    Alien

    It's San Francisco

    Very strange people do very strange things there routinely. Just another day. I live in the general area of SF, and it's been that way for at least 60 years that I recall.

    Icon because I think some of the folks living there are from a LONG way off.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: It's San Francisco

      Quote:

      Icon because I think some of the folks living there are from a LONG way off.

      Please tell us where you think those people who are part of the Administration in DC are from. This should get interesting?

      Oh wait... the US Gubbermint has shut down for a bit.

    2. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: It's San Francisco

      I knew an Interplanet Janet who crashed her 4x4 into a row of parked cars. When asked how, she replied, "I went into a trance".

    3. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: It's San Francisco

      "it's been that way for at least 60 years that I recall."

      A lot longer than that. This coming 4th February is the best estimate for the 200th birthday of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.

    4. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: It's San Francisco

      There's a school of thought that says Californians are weird because they live on an active tectonic fault, and they are all living under the effects of the geo-magnetic fields created by the stresses. It has been noted that active fault zones seem to attract a lot of strange phenomena of all kinds, including UFO sightings.

    5. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: It's San Francisco

      Icon because I think some of the folks living there are from a LONG way off.

      Have you considered that they might simply be very small?

  7. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Windows

    Consider the neighborhood . . .

    16th and Valencia? Sounds about right. The guy may not have known that he was a) throwing himself b) against a car or c) that it was autonomous.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Consider the neighborhood . . .

      or d) which day of the week it was.

  8. Dr Scrum Master

    Normal

    People throwing themselves at cars in order to claim compensation is pretty much par for the course in China..

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Normal

      But you normally throw yourself against the FRONT of the car in an insurance fraud.

    2. spold Bronze badge

      Re: Normal

      But in future cars in China the car will use facial recognition to identify you, access your state records and social profile scores and decide whether to run you down or not. If the results are really bad it will then decide to stop and reverse over you again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Normal

        And you just KNOW someone's going to exploit this to intentionally get targeted, drop to the pavement at the last second to avoid getting hit, and plant a bomb in the undercarriage as it passes.

  9. Michael Thibault

    It's the auto-pod challenge! Win 15 seconds of ever-lasting fame and notoriety if you end up with tire tracks over your face (5 seconds if the upper body)! Avoid the rush; it's a rush!

  10. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Meh

    So not exactly "in front" as the headline states. I thought it was going to be about someone trying to commit suicide who felt it was just too urgent to wait for the next train.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe this is how skynet is born? The cars start fighting back.

    1. Byron "Jito463"

      Maybe this is how skynet is born? The cars start fighting back.

      I think this more leads to Maximum Overdrive.

      https://media.tenor.com/images/15fd748c6eb080b018af7711b36ea504/tenor.gif

  12. SVV Silver badge

    He moved his face rapidly towards my fist, your honour....

    Aaaah, that good old time-honoured defence... However, it's good that these contraptions are being developed and tested in San Francisco, a place full of wasted droolers, as the software requirements should just have increased dramatically in size following this incident as they begin to realise just what they're going to have to cope with in the real world, rather than their imagined tech utopia. Once they're safe to use there, I might concede that they should be able to cope with other less challenging environments.

    1. bobajob12

      Re: He moved his face rapidly towards my fist, your honour....

      +1 on this, because it's not often brought up. It's one thing to drive an autonomous vehicle in Arizona, or on an interstate highway. But San Francisco? New York? Or (shudders from the memory) Dhaka, Jakarta, Naples?

      Even high way driving is radically different between, say, Colorado and New Jersey. The highways around Newark for example appear to have been expressly designed to foster a sort of Thunderdome driving style.

      I'm really looking forward to not having to drive myself, but I think I'm in for a very long wait.

  13. Paul Johnston

    Yevgeny Zamyatin fan?

    Possibly a literary explanation?

    He wrote a book about someone who throws themselves under cars.

    Then the classic dystopian future book "We"

    Just a thought :-)

  14. tim292stro

    Haven't been to SF El Reg?

    "...Drugs or alcohol could just as well explain things..."

    I propose rather than drugs or alcohol being a factor, it was just a typical Wednesday morning... I'll bet they didn't call the police because that person after striking the car immediately returned to the sidewalk, removed their shirt, and began yelling at a trash can for being an ar**hole.

    Really, the locals in SF are sometimes a sight to behold.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Haven't been to SF El Reg?

      Um...the bye line says the article is by "Thomas Claburn in San Francisco", so likely he has been there.

      1. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: Haven't been to SF El Reg?

        Um...the bye line says the article is by "Thomas Claburn in San Francisco", so likely he has been there.

        Drugs or alcohol could just as well explain this.

  15. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Drugs or alcohol could just as well explain things

    They certainly are the best explanation for the last few years. I just wish whoever is using them would stop and let reality get back to normal.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "I just wish whoever is using them would stop and let reality get back to normal."

    It has been said of England that the last nearly 100 years of civilised behaviour have been the aberration - and we are now getting back to "normal".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was the guy

    White, fairly tall and holding a remote control shaped electronic device with flashing red numbers on it?

    cough Data Universal /cough

    AC but does anyone else here watch old sci-fi ?

  18. unwarranted triumphalism

    Pretty sad that the self-driving car lobby are now resorting to murdering pedestrians in order to advance their cause. Still, a lot of money is at stake and we can't have anyone... getting in the way...

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Terminator

    Here to help

    This horrific accident is prof that humans need autonomous limbs to protect themselves from dangerous lapses of attention. Now here's the hMotion product - a little back-pack like device that serves as your personal assistant via broadband nerve interface. Don't be afraid. It has gigabit 5G, AR, and all your favorite selfie filters. There, that's it. Scroll to the end of the disclaimer and hit "OK."

  20. Montreal Sean

    Am I the only one

    Am I the only one who wonders how a pedestrian could have walked into the rear corner of the car hard enough to damage the tail light?

    That's either one very solid pedestrian or one really shoddily made car...

    1. John McCallum

      Re: Am I the only one

      It's GM read Vauxhall what do you expect.

    2. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: Am I the only one

      It's just your average chunky America vs plastic car.

  21. Muncher23

    SF ain't the only place

    I've been sitting in a taxi stopped in traffic in Sydney's Kings Cross (back when it was truely a red light / night club district) and a guy came running out of the old Bourbon and Beefsteak night club smack into the side of the taxi, got up and began swearing, yelling and spitting at us until the taxi could drive-off and this was at 10 am in the morning. So SF ain't the only place for this type of behaviour.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds about right for America

    Was once a passenger in a car in Vegas where, when turning left, a local decided to run across the crossing. The driver stopped in plenty of time, but the local decided to jump onto the bonnet and then feign injury, requiring the local ambulance services to take him to hospital, while his friend shouted at us telling us how we were going to jail and we were going to be sued for every penny we had.

    Absolutely a con both here and in the case in the article.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Sounds about right for America

      There's a clip on YouTube somewhere with a car stopping at a traffic light - then two youngsters rapidly drag a moped in front of it, get on it, back it forcefully into the car's bonnet with the "passenger" slamming himself onto it as well. On the other hand the clip is on YouTube - so the young Thespians noticed the dash cam and scuppered away in a real hurry right after that...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Sounds about right for America

        That was a hoax, they are all acting:

        https://youtu.be/UnP7-1-W4VQ

  23. James Hughes 1

    In Ely a few months ago, in a queue of cars waiting at a T junction. Car in front drives away, I start moving up to the stop line. Some guy in full on lycra running gear runs straight across the junction in front of me. Because there are houses on each side of the junction and he was at speed there was no way I could see him before he ran out. He rolls along the front the car. Then gave me an earful*. He hadn't even slowed down or looked as he ran across the road. He did slow down as he slid over the car. I was doing about 3mph at the most, which is not a huge speed, he was running faster than I was moving, yet he was still unable to avoid the incident.

    If you are reading this you wankpuffin, you will, in all likelihood, die through behaviour like this. Cars are heavier than people, and somewhat more robust.

    * I did return the earful.

    1. unwarranted triumphalism

      Do you enjoy driving into people on purpose or is it just fucking incompetence?

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly
      Headmaster

      Nevada or Cambridgeshire ?

  24. far2much4me

    I am Offended

    As a native Californian, I resent your use of the term "Soviet California". Everyone know it's the "People's Republic of Kalifornia".

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