An autonomous vehicle (AV) operated by Cruise struck a pedestrian in San Francisco on Monday evening just after he was hit by another car, San Francisco Chronicle reported.
According to witnesses, the force of the initial impact sent the woman plunging into the path of Cruise’s robotaxi, leaving her pinned under one of its wheels. The driver of the other car reportedly fled the scene.
The condition of the hospitalized woman was described as “critical” on Tuesday morning.
Before the incident, the two cars had been waiting side by side at a red traffic light, according to video seen by the Chronicle. When it turned green, both vehicles entered the intersection, where the pedestrian was struck by another car, sending him into the path of Cruise’s car, which had no one inside at the time.
In a statement to Digital Trends, Cruise confirmed that “a human-driven vehicle struck a pedestrian while traveling in the lane immediately to the left of the Cruise AV.”
They described the initial impact as “severe.” When a pedestrian falls in front of a Cruise vehicle, it automatically “brakes aggressively to minimize the impact.”
Cruise added: “Our sincere concern and focus is the welfare of the injured person and we are actively working with police to help identify the driver responsible.”
Images taken at the scene showed the rear left wheel of Cruise’s car slightly lifted, consistent with reports that the car came to rest at the woman’s feet, leaving her trapped until firefighters lifted the vehicle.
Monday’s incident follows a landmark decision in August by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which oversees commercial passenger services, when it decided to allow Cruise and another leading AV operator – Waymo – to expand their paid ridesharing services in San Francisco until all working hours. days, not just quiet moments.
But a few days later, regulators ordered Cruise to halve its robotaxi fleet in the city following a collision with a fire truck that left the driverless car’s occupants with minor injuries. Other incidents involving AVs have also been reported during their trial period on city streets.
The regulator – the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) – said at the time that it was investigating “recent concerning incidents” involving driverless Cruise cars operating on city public roads.
It is too early to draw conclusions about Monday’s incident, and it would be difficult for Cruise’s vehicles to avoid it. However, reports that the vehicle stopped right at the woman’s feet are clearly disturbing. A police report will soon confirm the details of the incident.