WTF?! A self-driving vehicle from Cruise was involved in an incident this week that saw a San Francisco pedestrian hit by two cars. According to the robotaxi firm, the woman was struck by a human-driven car, hurling her in front of a driveless taxi that ran her over and stopped with its rear tire still on her leg.
The San Francisco Chronicle writes that the crash occurred on Monday at 9:35 p.m. at Market and Fifth streets. The Cruise car and the other car that was involved were waiting side-by-side at the traffic lights. Both started moving when the lights turned green, even though the pedestrian was still in the crosswalk.
The human driver hit the woman first, knocking her into the next lane and into the path of the oncoming Cruise vehicle, which was empty at the time. According to a video and photos of the incident, the autonomous car ran over her and came to a stop, turning on its hazard lights as the rear tire pinned her leg.
A Cruise spokesperson said the car had braked aggressively to minimize the impact. The other driver fled the scene. Cruise said it is working with police to try and identify the person responsible.
(3/3) Our heartfelt concern and focus is the wellbeing of the person who was injured and we are actively working with police to help identify the responsible driver.– cruise (@Cruise) October 3, 2023
Firefighters used the jaws of life to remove the Cruise vehicle from the woman's leg. She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with "multiple traumatic injuries" and was in critical condition as of late Tuesday afternoon.
It was only a month ago when Cruise was forced to deny allegations that two of its self-driving taxis delayed an ambulance from leaving the scene of a crash in which a pedestrian was struck by a car. The person later died in hospital.
Autonomous cars are becoming an increasingly contentious issue in San Francisco, especially after the California Public Utilities Commission gave its approval for autonomous vehicle companies to expand robotaxis' hours of operation to 24/7 while charging for rides.
San Francisco officials in June said there have been ninety incidents involving Alphabet's Waymo and General Motors' Cruise vehicles since January. Incidents include cars hitting a bus, causing massive traffic jams, and running over a dog. It led to protests against autonomous vehicles in July that involved placing traffic cones on their hoods to disable the cars.