A woman is in critical condition after being found trapped underneath a driverless car in San Francisco on Monday night.
Rescuers discovered the woman pinned under the Autonomous Vehicle’s left rear axle and utilized hydraulic rescue tools to free her, as per CBS News.
The incident involved a Cruise robotaxi, which is being piloted exclusively in San Francisco, and occurred shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Monday night.
The responsible car, which was driven by a human, fled the scene, leaving officials to piece together the details.
According to San Francisco Fire Captain Justin Shore, given the absence of drivers or passengers, rescuers were unable to determine the nature of the injuries or how the victim ended up beneath the vehicle.
What happened to the Robotaxi’s victim?
First responders promptly arrived at the location within a minute of the initial dispatch, where they used heavy rescue tools, including the Jaws of Life, to pry the vehicle off of the victim.
Following aid provided by responding officers and medics, the woman was transported to a local hospital.
The San Francisco Police Department is currently canvassing the area for witnesses and surveillance footage, as well as analyzing data captured by the vehicle’s technology, Officer Robert Rueca told ABC7 News.
Cruise, which is a subsidiary of General Motors, claimed on Twitter that a human-driven car was responsible for initially hitting the woman, resulting in her being “launched” in front of the autonomous vehicle.
They further stated that their robotaxi swiftly braked to minimize the impact, while the driver of the other vehicle fled the scene.
Cruise is actively cooperating with law enforcement to identify the human driver accountable for the accident.
As part of their response, Cruise provided ABC7 with a video that purportedly demonstrates their robot taxi was not at fault for the initial collision with the victim.
The video was shared under the condition that it not be recorded, in order to avoid compromising the ongoing police investigation. Cruise maintained that their car operated as designed.
Robotaxi kills small dog
The woman wasn’t the first victim of a robotaxi, a self-driving Google car ran over and killed a small dog during a test drive in San Francisco on May 21.
This incident has raised concerns among local officials about the upcoming rollout of ride-sharing robotaxis.
According to an online DMV report, the car, developed by Waymo, which was previously known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project, hit a small dog while operating in autonomous mode. Unfortunately, the dog did not survive the collision.
The report stated that a test driver was present in the driver’s seat at the time of the accident. The vehicle’s automatic driving system (ADS) was engaged in autonomous mode during the incident. The DMV report also mentioned that the autonomous vehicle sustained minor damage in the crash.
A spokesperson for Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., confirmed the crash and expressed condolences to the dog’s owner.
The spokesperson explained that a small dog ran in front of their vehicle, despite an autonomous specialist being present in the driver’s seat.
The system correctly identified the dog, which suddenly appeared from behind a parked vehicle, but was unable to avoid the collision.
Waymo’s tagline highlights their cars as “the world’s most experienced driver,” and their mission is to make transportation safe and convenient without the need for anyone in the driver’s seat.
The spokesperson reiterated Waymo’s commitment to the safety of the communities they serve and emphasized that they are actively investigating the incident.
According to a source, the dog was running off its leash and would likely have been hit even if a human driver had been present.