San Francisco Examines Safety of Driverless Cabs After Cruise Robotaxi Collision with Firetruck

A driverless robotaxi operated by Cruise collided with an on-duty fire truck in San Francisco.

The collision occurred when the robotaxi went through a green light and was struck by the firetruck. The only passenger in the autonomous cab sustained a head injury.

The passenger received medical treatment at the scene and was then transported to a hospital for further evaluation. The injuries were reported as “non-severe” by the taxi company.

Cruise, formerly known as X, wrote on Twitter, “Our primary concern is the rider and their welfare, and we have reached out to offer support. We are investigating the performance of our autonomous vehicle and will communicate with the City of San Francisco about the incident.”

This incident occurred just one week after Waymo and Cruise were approved by the California Public Utilities Commission to operate 24-hour driverless taxis in San Francisco.

Driverless taxis have encountered other issues in San Francisco, such as a Cruise taxi getting stuck in wet concrete earlier this week.

A witness, Paul Harvey, commented, “I can see five different scenarios where bad things happen and this is one of them. It thinks it’s a road and it ain’t because it ain’t got a brain and it can’t tell that it’s freshly poured concrete.”

According to city transit officials, there have been nearly 600 incidents involving autonomous vehicles in San Francisco since June 2022.

The day before the collision with the firetruck, San Francisco officials requested a stay on the legalization of robotaxis while the city seeks a rehearing of the decision.

San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu expressed concerns, saying, “We have seen that this technology is not yet ready, and poor autonomous vehicle performance has interfered with the life-saving operations of first responders.”

The San Francisco Fire Chief, Jeanine Nicholson, also raised concerns about the expansion of driverless vehicles, stating, “These incidents with Public Safety are not going away.”

However, Cruise maintains that their technology is safe, while Waymo, the city’s other robotaxi company, stated they are closely monitoring the developments.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the circumstances of the crash in the headline. The robotaxi drove through a green light when the crash occurred.

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