Earlier this month, a fire truck was partially stopped by a cruise AV test vehicle on its way to an emergency. This is one of the few handfuls of San Francisco city officials taking a break as the proposed permit program for autonomous ride-hauling vehicles is being developed.
The event occurred around 4 a.m. April when emergency responders were answering a call, reports Wired. Their advance was blocked by a double-parked garbage truck and as they pulled to pass it, a cruise AV test vehicle was heading in the other direction, coming to a stop next to the garbage truck, completely blocking the road.
“This incident slowed down the SFFD response to a fire that resulted in property damage and personal injury,” city officials wrote in a filing submitted to the California Public Utility Commission.
Read more: Police pull driverless cruise Chevy Bolt in San Francisco to drive without lights
A spokesman for Cruise confirmed the incident to Wired, adding that the car had behaved as designed, approaching an oncoming fire truck and contacting the company’s remote support staff. According to the company, the fire truck was blocked for 25 seconds.
However, the blockade was not cleared until the driver of the garbage truck ran to remove the car from their work. Some have mentioned that if a man were to drive a cruise AV, they could only help the fire truck pass by. It repeats that every second counts when an emergency responder is on the way to a call.
The San Francisco Fire Department also confirmed the incident, saying that although it was in discussions with electric and autonomous vehicle manufacturers for pre-epidemic training, “we have been successful through EV training and have continued autonomous vehicle industry training.” “
San Francisco city officials objected to some of the proposed permit programs created by the California Public Utility Commission and pointed to the filing as one of three incidents that regulate ride-hailing across the state.
The second was a highly publicized incident where a cruise car was pulled while driving at night without the headlights on. The third occurred in late April and involved another cruise vehicle that stopped a crosswalk while driving through a work area, blocking traffic for five minutes.
These phenomena point to the challenges of designing autonomous vehicles that can lead to so-called edge cases where something impossible or unexpected happens on the road. While a human driver will probably be able to come up with a solution, autonomous vehicles have a harder time responding to those events.
The cases on this side are so challenging that some in the autonomous automotive industry have acknowledged that no automaker would ever build a car capable of Level 5 fully autonomous driving.