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INTERNATIONAL - Rick Wagoner, chief executive of General Motors, drives the new Chevy Camero along Detroit’s Woodward Avenue during the annual Dream Cruise which is the largest event of its kind. But GM banks on driverless cars for the future. Photo: Bloomberg

As the company increases the size of its test fleet, it has also reported more run-ins between its self-driving cars and human-operated vehicles and bicycles, telling California regulators its vehicles were involved in six minor crashes in the state in September

In the past three months, the Cruise unit has increased the number of vehicles registered for testing on California streets to 100 from the previous 30 to 40. Cruise is testing vehicles in San Francisco as part of its effort to develop software capable of navigating congested and often chaotic urban environments.

Investors are watching GM’s progress closely, and the carmaker’s shares have risen 17percent during the past month as some analysts have said the company could deploy robot taxis within the next year or two. A US Senate panel approved legislation on Wednesday that would allow carmakers to greatly expand testing of self-driving cars.

Some safety groups have objected to the proposal, saying it gives too much latitude to carmakers.

As Cruise, and rivals, put more self-driving vehicles on the road to gather data to train their artificial intelligence systems, they are more frequently encountering human drivers who are not programmed to obey all traffic laws. 

- REUTERS