A woman in downtown San Francisco was seriously injured in a car accident involving an autonomous vehicle operated by Cruise, a self-driving car company and subsidiary of General Motors (GM). The accident occurred on Monday night when a pedestrian was struck by a human-driven vehicle and then launched in front of the autonomous vehicle. The AV braked aggressively to minimize the impact but stopped on top of the victim. The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene.
Video footage from the autonomous vehicle shows that the pedestrian was crossing the intersection when cars had the right of way. The video has not been publicly released due to an ongoing investigation by San Francisco authorities. San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Justin Schorr revealed that the victim has multiple life-threatening injuries. Cruise spokesperson Navideh Forghani stated that the company is cooperating with investigators.
The incident highlights the challenges faced in creating safe, fully autonomous vehicles. Cruise has faced previous controversies in San Francisco, where its self-driving cars have been blamed for traffic jams and collisions, including one involving a fire truck. The San Francisco Fire Department reported 83 incidents this year involving autonomous vehicles impeding their operations. Cruise has agreed to reduce its fleet by 50% while taking corrective action.
While the autonomous vehicle industry has faced setbacks, advocates argue that driverless cars are safer than those operated by humans. Companies such as Uber and Lyft have sold their autonomous vehicle units in recent years, and even Tesla CEO Elon Musk has yet to fully deliver on his promise of fully autonomous vehicles. However, the development of autonomous vehicles remains an ongoing process to ensure their safety and effectiveness.