After the fire engine crashes, California tells Cruise to reduce the fleet of motorized taxis by 50% in San Francisco
The San Francisco Police Department said in a statement to Reuters that the robottaxi cruise Thursday passed through a green light in front of an oncoming firetruck “with red lights and sirens on.” The San Francisco Chronicle adds that the passenger in the Cruise vehicle “was treated at the scene and taken by ambulance to the hospital, though the company said the injuries were “non-serious.” The company added in an email to the Chronicle that the passenger was at the scene. The incident occurred as he walked around and spoke to emergency responders before being taken to the hospital.”
By Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said it was investigating “disturbing incidents,” according to TechCrunch. But, she adds, the Spacecraft Regulatory Agency “has also called for Cruise to reduce its fleet by 50% and have no more than 50 self-driving vehicles operating during the day and 150 self-driving vehicles operating at night until the investigation is complete.”
Cruz told TechCrunch that it is complying with the request. Cruz also released a blog post outlining the company’s perspective on how and why the crash occurred.
Cruz’s blog post notes that the firetruck was unexpectedly in the oncoming lane of traffic that night. But meanwhile, somewhere else in town…
The same night, Cruz’s car collided with another vehicle at 26th and Mission Streets. The company said another driverless car entered the intersection at a green light when another car ran a red light at high speed. The self-driving car detected and braked the other car, according to Cruz, but the two cars still collided…
The collisions came a day after city officials called on state regulators to halt their approval of the unrestricted commercial expansion of robot companies in the city, citing concerns about how the robots’ behavior would affect emergency responders.
The cruises this past weekend also came under fire after “as many as 10 driverless taxis blocked two narrow streets,” as the Los Angeles Times reports:
Human-driven cars sat stuck behind and around automated robots, which were probably also boulders: no one knew how to move them… The cars sat motionless with parking lights flashing for 15 minutes, then got up and flashed. Witnesses said.
According to the article, Cruz “blamed the cellphone companies for the problem,” noting that a music festival carried more than the cellphone network they use to communicate with their cars.
Thanks to Slashdot reader jjslash for sharing the story.