A self-driving car drove over a pedestrian who had just been hit by another vehicle, driven by a human, Monday evening in San Francisco, according to authorities and the self-driving car company involved in the accident , Cruise.
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The victim is hospitalized in critical condition, according to firefighters.
“Around 9:30 p.m. on October 2, a car driven by a human, located immediately to the left of a Cruise autonomous vehicle, struck a person. The initial impact was violent and threw this person directly in front of the autonomous vehicle, which then braked vigorously,” said Hannah Lindow, a spokesperson for Cruise.
She showed AFP the video of the accident, which confirms her story. We see the two cars moving forward at the green light and a person crossing on the white stripes, in the middle of traffic, before the impact.
Then the Cruise car, which had neither driver nor passenger, brakes and stops over the pedestrian.
“The driver of the other vehicle fled and, at the request of the police, the autonomous vehicle was held in place,” added Hannah Lindow, specifying that she was working with the police “to help identify the driver responsible” .
Firefighters said they used tools to lift the vehicle and gain access to the victim, who suffered “multiple serious injuries”.
Packed with cameras and lidars (detection lasers), autonomous electric taxis from Waymo (Google) and Cruise (General Motors) have invested in San Francisco since last year, sparking increasingly intense debates.
Many residents appreciate the gradual rollout of these cars, which they consider safer than those driven by humans.
Others believe that they are not up to date and present risks.
Environmentalists, considering that they perpetuate the reign of the individual car, have even carried out militant actions, placing orange cones on their hoods to immobilize them.
So far, most of the incidents recorded have involved autonomous vehicles stopped on the road, blocking traffic.
In August, the California Transportation Agency granted permission for the two companies to expand their paid services in the city.
But soon after, highway authorities asked Cruise to reduce its fleet in San Francisco by half (50 cars active during the day and 150 at night) while they investigated two collisions, including one with a fire truck.