Tragic Accident Involving Driverless Car in San Francisco Raises Safety Concerns
A pedestrian in downtown San Francisco was critically injured and trapped underneath a driverless car in a harrowing accident on Monday night. The autonomous vehicle was operated by Cruise, a San Francisco-based self-driving car company and a subsidiary of General Motors (GM). Shocking video footage provided to CNN by Cruise reveals that the driverless vehicle was a secondary car in the collision, with the pedestrian crossing the intersection when the collision occurred, despite cars having the right of way.
According to Cruise spokesperson Navideh Forghani, a human-driven vehicle struck the pedestrian while travelling in the lane beside a Cruise AV. The impact propelled the pedestrian in front of the AV, which braked aggressively to minimize the impact. The driver of the other vehicle fled the scene.
The video from the autonomous vehicle captured the moment of impact, showing the pedestrian being hit and subsequently landing on the car’s hood, then flipping over the roof and rolling off the right side of the car. She slammed onto the pavement and ended up beneath the AV. Firefighters had to use the “jaws of life” to lift the vehicle and free the victim.
Cruise has stated that they are fully cooperating with investigators. San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Justin Schorr mentioned that the company’s cars have their own cameras and collect various telemetric data, which could assist in the investigation. However, the incident has highlighted the unique challenges in determining fault and understanding the circumstances in accidents involving autonomous vehicles.
This incident comes amidst growing concerns about the safety of self-driving cars in San Francisco. Cruise has faced controversy in the city, including traffic jams and multiple collisions. The incident has reignited the debate around the safety of autonomous vehicles, with some arguing that they remain safer than human-operated vehicles despite the challenges.
The victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, is being treated at San Francisco General Hospital for severe, life-threatening injuries. The San Francisco Police Department is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.
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