Renault CEO says cyclists are the biggest problem for driverless cars

Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn said cyclists were a big problem for driverless cars, ahead of its planned launch of semi-autonomous cars this year

Photo: Nissan Motor Co. Ltd

Renault chairman and chief executive Carlos Ghosn has claimed that cyclists are proving to be the biggest challenge to the development of driverless cars.

Mr Ghosn, who is also chairman and CEO of Nissan, said that Renault will launch is first, semi-autonomous driverless cars this year, which can accelerate, steer and stop on its own.

But Ghosn boss said bicycles on the roads were a serious obstacle to driverless cars, with cyclists baffling the vehicles' on-board technology.

"One of the biggest problems is people with bicycles," Mr Ghosn told CNBC (opens in new tab).

"The car is confused by them because from time-to-time they behave like pedestrians and from time-to-time they behave like cars."

"They don't respect any rules usually," Mr Ghosn added.

But Jason Torrance, policy director at cycling advocacy group Sustrans, said that the technology needed to put the safety of pedestrians, as well as cyclists, first.

"Advocates of driverless cars often forget that people live next to roads and use them regularly, so safety must be prioritized especially when normal unpredictable and legal human behavior comes into contact with driverless machines," Mr Torrance said.

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Last August, a cyclist was involved in a bizarre stand-off at traffic lights with a self-driving Lexus, which struggled to react to the cyclist's trackstand at a red light.

Renault's launch of their first partially-driverless vehicles this year will be followed by a vehicle that can change lanes on motorways in 2018, with a fully autonomous car planned for 2020.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month saw Audi, Ford, Toyota and Volvo all announce plans for their own driverless cars as manufacturers race to get their autonomous vehicles on the market first.

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