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Driverless Taxis Blocked Ambulance and Affected person Later Died, San Francisco Hearth Dept. Says


Two Cruise driverless taxis blocked an ambulance carrying a critically injured affected person who later died at a hospital, a San Francisco Hearth Division report mentioned, in one other incident involving self-driving vehicles within the metropolis.

On Aug. 14, two Cruise autonomous autos have been stopped in the appropriate two lanes of a four-lane, one-way road within the SoMa neighborhood, the place the sufferer was discovered, in line with the division report. It mentioned {that a} police car in one other lane needed to be moved to ensure that the ambulance to go away.

The driverless autos delayed transport and medical care, the report mentioned. The affected person, who had been struck by a automotive, was pronounced useless about 20 to half-hour after arriving on the Zuckerberg San Francisco Basic Hospital, about 2.4 miles away from the accident.

Cruise, an autonomous car subsidiary of Basic Motors, mentioned that it was not at fault. The footage Cruise shared with The Occasions appeared to indicate that certainly one of its autos had moved from the scene earlier than the sufferer was loaded to the ambulance, whereas the opposite stopped in the appropriate lane till after the ambulance left. The footage additionally confirmed that different autos, together with one other ambulance, handed by the appropriate facet of the Cruise taxi.

“As quickly because the sufferer was loaded into the ambulance, the ambulance left the scene instantly and was by no means impeded” by the Cruise car, the corporate mentioned in an announcement. The ambulance handed the stopped Cruise car roughly 90 seconds after loading the sufferer, in line with the footage.

Cruise mentioned {that a} police officer spoke to certainly one of its staff by means of distant help within the car, and that the corporate was capable of navigate it away from the scene after the ambulance left. The Hearth Division confirmed the report, which was first obtained by Forbes.

Aaron Peskin, the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, mentioned that no matter what led to the sufferer’s dying, the “accumulative complete” of incidents involving driverless vehicles was extra alarming. “All of them have a typical theme, which is autonomous autos are usually not prepared for prime time,” Mr. Peskin mentioned.

Cruise and Waymo, which is backed by Alphabet, Google’s dad or mum firm, started to supply driverless taxi companies in San Francisco final yr. The accident occurred 4 days after each firms obtained a allow from California state regulators to increase their companies to cost for rides in any respect hours in San Francisco.

The Hearth Division mentioned the case was certainly one of greater than 70 of autonomous autos interfering with emergency responders. San Francisco officers have protested the enlargement of driverless taxi companies since January, pointing to circumstances the place driverless vehicles blocked emergency autos and interfered throughout energetic firefighting and crime scenes.

Some metropolis officers have mentioned that these incidents are a small fraction of all circumstances involving driverless vehicles. The businesses have been required to report solely collisions to regulators, not different incidents.

For the reason that enlargement of driverless taxi companies started, Cruise autos have been reported to have blocked site visitors and to have been caught in moist cement. On Aug. 17, a Cruise car collided with a hearth truck. The following day, the California Division of Motor Autos, which oversees the protection of autonomous autos, requested Cruise to halve the variety of autos it was working within the metropolis because it investigated the incidents.

Metropolis officers plan to file a movement for a brand new listening to on the service enlargement, Mr. Peskin mentioned. David Chiu, town legal professional, beforehand requested the California Public Utilities Fee, the company that permitted the enlargement, to halt the plan.


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