Cruise AV impedes San Francisco firefighters

Occurred: January 2021

Firefighters in San Francisco had to smash the front window of a Cruise autonomous vehicle (AV) to stop it from running over their hoses as they fought a fire in January 2021, violating the California Vehicle Code.

According to a letter (pdf) sent to a state regulator by directors of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and the Mayor’s Office on Disability, a Cruise AV entered an active fire scene, drove towards the fire hoses on the ground, and failed to stop despite 'efforts' made by the firefighters on scene to block it.

Only Cruise experts can disengage an AV from autonomous mode and immobilise the vehicle, according to Insider.

Vice reports that Cruise AVs regularly clog San Francisco streets, block lanes and intersections, suffer from shoddy software and erratic driving, and overstate its vehicles' capabilities.

A self-driving Cruise AV also ran over a fire hose that was in use in June 2022, according to the regulator's letter. The company has also called 911 multiple times for 'unresponsive' passengers who, when emergency crews showed up, turned out to be asleep.

In June 2022, an anonymous Cruise whistleblower wrote to the California Utilities Commission to warn that the company loses contact with its driverless vehicles 'with regularity.' 

Operator: GM Cruise
Developer: GM Cruise; General Motors/Chevrolet
Country: USA
Sector: Automotive
Purpose: Automate steering, acceleration, braking
Technology: Self-driving system
Issue: Safety; Accuracy/reliability; Legal - liability
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: February 2023