July 21, 2024

Brighton Journal

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State regulators cut the cruise fleet after two SF incidents

State regulators cut the cruise fleet after two SF incidents

The California Department of Motor Vehicles asked Cruise on Friday to halve its fleet of driverless taxis pending an investigation into recent accidents, including two collisions in San Francisco Thursday night.

“Cruise has agreed to a 50% reduction and will have no more than 50 self-driving vehicles operating during the day and 150 self-driving vehicles operating at night,” a statement from the DMV said Friday evening. “DMV reserves the right, after investigation of the facts, to suspend or revoke permits for testing and/or deployment if it is determined that there is an unreasonable risk to public safety.”

DMV said the reduction in operations will remain in effect until the investigation is completed and Cruise “takes appropriate corrective action to improve road safety.”

The company said the investigation comes after a driverless Cruze with a passenger on board collided with an emergency vehicle on Thursday night.

Shortly after 10 p.m., Cruz’s driverless car, which had the green light, entered the intersection at Polk and Leaving Streets in the Tenderloin, the company wrote in a tweet Friday morning, and collided with an emergency vehicle that was on its way to the emergency scene. The company did not specify what type of emergency vehicle it was.

In an update on Friday, Cruz explained what she believes contributed to the accident. The company said the designated intersection has buildings obscuring the view, making it difficult for carousels — as well as human drivers — to track vehicles coming around the corner until they reach the intersection. The company said Cruz’s car had difficulty “drawing” the path of the emergency vehicle, too, because the emergency vehicle was traveling “in the oncoming lane of traffic, which you moved into to run a red light.”

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“Cruise AV identified collision risks and began a braking maneuver, reducing its speed, but in the end it was unable to avoid a collision,” the company said. Cruise AVs have the ability to detect emergency sirens, which increases their ability to operate safely around emergency vehicles and accompanying scenes. In this case, the AV identified the siren as soon as it distinguished it from the background noise.”

Cruz said she remained in contact with the passenger who was inside the car at the time of the accident.

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The passenger was treated at the scene and taken by ambulance to hospital, though the company said the injuries were “non-critical”. The passenger was at the scene walking around talking to emergency responders before being taken to hospital, the company added in an email to the Chronicle.

“Our primary concern is the passenger and their well-being, and we have reached out to provide support. We are also very aware of the well-being of the first responders and any individuals impacted by this incident,” the company wrote.

The company added that it is investigating the incident and is in contact with the city about what happened. A San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the city emergency vehicle that collided with Cruz’s car.

The same night, Cruz’s car collided with another vehicle at 26th and Mission Streets.

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The company said another driverless car entered the intersection at a green light when another car ran a red light at high speed. Cruz said the self-driving car detected the other car and braked, but the two cars still collided. Cruz said the driver of the other vehicle was treated and released at the scene, and a police report was filed.