- A San Francisco woman was run over by a Cruise robotaxi after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.
- The Cruise car had neither a driver nor passenger, and there were no witnesses to the scene.
- Cruise has faced criticism since San Francisco approved its service expansion this summer.
A San Francisco pedestrian was apparently hit by two cars late Monday night, one of which didn’t have a driver.
The woman was first struck by a hit-and-run driver, whose vehicle pushed her into the path of a driverless Cruise robotaxi which then ran her over, according a statement from Cruise and multiple publications that said they had viewed video of the incident provided by the company.
Cruise said in a statement to Insider that a “human-driven vehicle struck a pedestrian while traveling in the lane immediately to the left of a Cruise AV,” and the impact “launched the pedestrian” in front of the Cruise robotaxi, which “braked aggressively to minimize the impact.”
San Francisco firefighters arrived at the scene and used the jaws of life to lift the autonomous vehicle off the woman, who was then transported to the hospital, according to the San Francisco Fire Department and SFPD, who told Insider that the current condition of the woman is not known at this time.
“We believe that another vehicle that was not an autonomous vehicle may have been initially involved in the collision, but the vehicle or driver were not present at the scene during our investigation,” the SFPD told Insider.
The Cruise vehicle stayed at the scene after the incident, but had neither a driver nor a passenger who could serve as a witness.
“Because of the nature of the autonomous vehicles there’s no driver to speak with, and in this case there were no passengers inside the vehicle when rescuers arrived,” Justin Schorr, SFFD rescue captain, told NBC in a video interview. “There were also no witnesses on the street. All we know is that the victim was found beneath the vehicle and rescued.”
There was, however, video of the incident recorded from the vehicle’s cameras, multiple outlets reported. The SF Chronicle said it had viewed the footage, which it said showed the woman in the middle of a crosswalk while both the Cruise vehicle and the other car had a green light.
Cruise has been operating fully driverless vehicles in San Francisco since early 2022, but got the go-ahead in August from the city to further expand their services and offer fully driverless rides 24/7 going forward. At the time of the city’s approval Cruise operated about 300 vehicles at night and 100 during the day, Insider previously reported. Those numbers were soon reduced by 50% to 150 vehicles in operation at night 50 vehicles during the day following two separate collisions involving Cruise’s vehicles.
There have been a number of incidents involving Cruise’s autonomous taxis over the past year. In August, a Cruise AV with no passengers drove into wet concrete at a construction site and got stuck. A number of Cruise cars stalled in San Francisco and caused a traffic jam. There were also reports in June of a Cruise vehicle blocking emergency vehicles on their way to respond to a mass shooting. In January, firefighters had to smash the front windshield of one of Cruise’s cars to stop the vehicle from running over their hoses.
As for the most recent incident, Cruise said that “our heartfelt concern and focus is the wellbeing of the person who was injured and we are actively working with police to help identify the responsible driver.”