GM’s Cruise Robotaxi Collides with Fire Truck in San Francisco

REUTERS/Heather Somerville/File Photo/File Photo
A Cruise self-driving car, which is owned by General Motors Corp, is seen outside the company’s headquarters in San Francisco where it does most of its testing, in California, U.S., September 26, 2018.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A Cruise robotaxi was involved in a crash with an emergency vehicle in San Francisco late on Thursday, the General Motors unit said, a week after a California agency voted to allow expanded operations of autonomous vehicle services in the city.

“One of our cars entered the intersection on a green light and was struck by an emergency vehicle that appeared to be en route to an emergency scene,” Cruise said on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Initial investigation shows the collision occurred when a fire truck was operating in an emergency with its forward facing red lights and siren on, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement to Reuters.

The police did not confirm if a case had been registered against Cruise but said the sole passenger in the autonomous vehicle (AV) was transported to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The San Francisco Fire Department did not respond to requests for comment.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) last week voted to allow robotaxis from Cruise and Alphabet’s GOOGL.O Waymo to operate at all hours of the day throughout San Francisco and charge passengers for rides despite strong opposition from residents and city agencies.

The two have been running robotaxi tests limited by times and geographic areas within San Francisco.

City Attorney David Chiu asked the CPUC on Thursday to halt its decision while the city files for a re-hearing. “We have seen that this technology is not yet ready, and poor AV performance has interfered with the life-saving operations of first responders. San Francisco will suffer serious harms from this unfettered expansion,” he said in a statement.

Cruise said in the post it was “deeply mindful of the well-being of the first responders” and that it was investigating to better understand the performance of its vehicles.