A pedestrian in San Francisco was hit by a regular car and trapped underneath a Cruise autonomous vehicle for several minutes until firefighters rescued her. The incident, captured on video and witnessed by emergency responders, left the victim in critical condition. This is the latest incident involving autonomous vehicles in the city, with companies like Cruise and Waymo causing disruptions in traffic and interrupting first responders. The pedestrian was struck while crossing the road as both vehicles advanced after the light turned green. Despite braking aggressively, the autonomous vehicle couldn’t stop in time, rolling over the woman before coming to a halt.
The incident has sparked concerns about the safety and regulation of autonomous vehicles. It comes at a time when California regulators recently authorized Waymo and Cruise to offer paid robotaxi services in San Francisco without drivers. However, the state opened an investigation into concerning incidents involving Cruise vehicles, leading to a 50 percent reduction in the company’s fleet size until the investigation is complete. Former House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Kevin Mullin have also called for increased regulation and data collection on autonomous vehicles due to the risks they pose to passengers, drivers, and pedestrians.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt has defended driverless technology, claiming that incidents involving his company’s cars have been sensationalized. He believes that autonomous vehicles will ultimately make the roads safer in a city that saw a spike in human-driver-related fatalities. However, the recent spate of incidents has generated concern among lawmakers and led to calls for stricter regulations and greater data transparency surrounding autonomous vehicles.