Earlier this month, a Cruise autonomous vehicle (AV) was indirectly involved in a hit-and-run incident in San Francisco. A human-driven Nissan Sentra struck a pedestrian who then ended up in the path of the AV.
Why It Matters
This incident has brought attention to the safety protocols and responses of autonomous vehicles in unexpected situations. As AVs become more prevalent on the roads, understanding their behavior in extreme conditions is crucial for public trust.
- On October 2, 2023, at 9:29 PM PDT, the Cruise AV was at a complete stop at a red light.
- A pedestrian, violating the traffic signal, crossed the street and was hit by the Nissan Sentra, throwing the pedestrian in front of the AV.
- The AV tried to evade, but still made contact with the pedestrian.
- The Nissan Sentra’s driver fled the scene.
- Cruise immediately reported the incident to regulatory bodies and shared the full incident video.
- The responsible human driver is still at large, and Cruise is assisting the San Francisco police with the ongoing investigation.
The unfortunate incident in San Francisco underscores the unpredictability of real-world scenarios that autonomous vehicles might face. Despite Cruise’s extensive simulation testing and over 5 million miles of driving experience, rare events like this challenge the robustness of AV responses. Cruise is using this event as a learning opportunity, incorporating it into future simulation tests. Their aim remains clear: improving safety in all situations and reducing roadway injuries and fatalities. Safety remains paramount to Cruise, and they are committed to refining their AVs’ behavior to handle even the rarest of incidents.