Back in early June, the California Department of Motor Vehicles awarded GM-owned autonomous driving firm Cruise with a permit allowing it to begin charging passengers for rides in its driverless Chevy Bolt EV robotaxis. One day after Cruise received the permit, one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a t-bone-style crash that resulted in injuries to occupants of both vehicles.
According to Automotive News, which found a DMV report authored by GM related to the crash, the Cruise AV was operating in driverless autonomous mode and travelling eastbound on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco when it approached an intersection and entered the left-hand turn lane. The Cruise AV switched its signal on and initiated the left turn through a green light as a Toyota Prius travelling westbound entered the right-hand turn lane. At this point, the Cruise AV came to a stop in the intersection before attempting to complete its turn onto Spruce Street, with the Prius continuing straight through the intersection despite having previously entered the turn lane. The Prius then made contact with the side of the Cruise AV, damaging its right rear.
The DMV report indicates that “occupants of both vehicles received medical treatment for allegedly minor injuries,” following the crash and a police report was filed. The Cruise AV was later towed from the scene. The San Francisco Police could not independently verify the GM report when asked by AN, and could not locate a crash report from the accident. A spokesperson also declined to provide reasoning for why the Cruise AV stopped in the intersection instead of continuing through it at regular speed.
GM would also not say whether the occupant of the Cruise AV was one of its employees testing the vehicle, or if it was a passenger that had ordered the vehicle through its ride-hailing service. AN tried to inquire if its autonomous test vehicles have working side airbags or side-curtain airbags, as well, and if they deployed during the crash, but did not receive an answer.
Cruise made headlines earlier this year when one of its driverless vehicles was pulled over by the San Francisco PD and drove away from the scene, accelerating through an intersection before coming to a stop a few hundred feet down the road. In another incident, a Cruise AV partially blocked the path of a San Francisco Fire Department vehicle that was headed to an emergency after it double-parked on a busy roadway to let a passenger out.