After Firetruck Crash, California Tells Cruise to Reduce Robotaxi Fleet by 50% in San Francisco

On Thursday, a robotic cruiser ran a green light in front of an oncoming fire truck “with red lights facing forward and siren on, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement to Reuters.” The San Francisco Chronicle adds that the passenger in the cruise vehicle was treated at the scene and is in critical condition taken by ambulance to hospital, although the company said the injuries were “not serious.” The company added in an email to the Chronicle that the passenger was on the scene walking and talking to emergency crews before being taken to hospital.

As of Friday, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said it was investigating “the incidents involved.” according to TechCrunch. But it adds that the AV regulatory agency has also “urged Cruise to reduce its fleet by 50% and have no more than 50 driverless vehicles in daytime service and 150 driverless vehicles in nighttime service until the investigation is complete.”

Cruz told TechCrunch that he was complying with the request. Cruise too publish a blog post giving the company’s perspective on how and why the crash occurred.
Cruz’s blog post states that the fire truck was unexpectedly in the oncoming lane of traffic that night. But meanwhile, elsewhere in the city…

That night, a Cruise car collided with another vehicle at 26th and Mission streets. The company said another driverless vehicle, with no passengers inside, entered the intersection on a green light when another car ran a red light at high speed. The driverless car hit the other car and stopped, according to Cruz, but the two cars still collided…

The clashes came a day after city officials asked state regulators withhold their approval of the robot taxi companies unlimited commercial expansion in the city, citing concerns about how the robotaxi’s behavior affects emergency services.
Last weekend, Cruise was also criticized after “up to 10 driverless Cruise taxis blocked two narrow streets,” the Los Angeles Times reported:

The human-driven cars were stuck behind and between the robotics, which might as well have been rocks: no one knew how to move them… The cars sat stationary with parking lights flashing for 15 minutesthen woke up and continued on, witnesses said.
Cruz “blamed cellphone carriers for the problem,” according to the article — arguing that a music festival overloaded the cellphone network they used to communicate with their vehicles.

Thanks to a Slashdot reader jjslash to share the story.

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