A cruise robottaxi operating without a safety driver recently collided with a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MONI) bus. There was no report of injuries. While the bus sustained minor damage, the damage to the Cruze’s front bumper was more severe.
At the time of the accident, the Cruise robot was not carrying any passengers. GM’s self-driving unit addressed the incident in a brief statement: “Yesterday, one of our vehicles made contact with the back of a Mooney bus. No injuries were reported, and there were no passengers on the Cruise AV. We are investigating the incident and will take follow-up action if necessary.”
Based on Cruz’s comment and a photo of the accident, it appears that the robotic taxi truck ended up with the bus at a relatively low speed. A photo of the accident circulated on social media shows the robot is still in contact with the bus. The impact occurred just after the bus stopped, which also indicates that the collision likely occurred at low speeds, as noted in Forbes a report. The cruiser’s airbags didn’t seem to deploy either, as shown in the photo.
This incident highlights the need for Cruise to improve San Francisco’s robot fleet for real-world use. One could infer that the robotic sensor array should have detected Mooney’s bus, and thus should have stopped before the collision occurred.
at recent days separate incidentCruise’s robot taxi encounters fallen trolley wires during a severe windstorm. The car passed a “caution” tape that was blocking the road and hit the non-live wires. While twisted warning tape can be difficult for sensors like LIDAR and radar systems to detect, trolley cables are thicker and potentially significantly more visible.
Although recent storms in San Francisco presented challenges, it can be assumed that Cruise simulated such scenarios during training and test runs for the robotic vehicle. Incidents involving Muni bus and trolley wiring highlight the importance of real-world testing and training on a state-of-the-art robot vehicle to help ensure its safe operation. This is something that other companies also pursuing robotics technology — such as Waymo and Tesla — should confirm.
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