As reported by GM Authority back in June 2023, San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson claimed that Cruise AV units have the ability to interfere with emergency vehicles, and that her city isn’t ready for a mass rollout of self-driving robotaxi service. Now, a Cruise AV unit has been captured blocking a fire truck in San Francisco, and creating a traffic jam.
In a post to social media, a Cruise AV example was filmed blocking an entire road in San Francisco and preventing the emergency response vehicle from getting through. In fact, the fire truck was forced to back up into the intersection before the autonomous vehicle moved out of the way.
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time a Cruise AV unit has been spotted blocking firefighters, as GM Authority covered such an occurrence way back in May 2022. Following this event, a Cruise AV was even involved in a collision with a fire truck at a traffic light.
“They’re not ready for prime time,” San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson previously stated. “I’m not against the technology. I understand it’s important and it’s the way the industry is going. But we need to fix what’s not working right now, before they are unleashed on the rest of the city. We have 160,000 calls a year. We don’t have the time to personally take care of a car that’s in the way when we’re on the way to an emergency.”
.@Cruise celebrated by blocking a fire truck at an active scene today at 24th and Valencia.
— DylanY (@Dylan_Why_) August 12, 2023
The timing of this incident comes as Cruise, General Motors’ self-driving subsidiary, was just given the go-ahead to expand its self-driving services in California. More specifically, the robotaxi units are now permitted to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Previously, Cruse AVs were only allowed to operate in designated neighborhoods at specific hours, with some providers allowed to offer only free rides.
Beyond The Golden State, Cruise also recently began testing in Atlanta, Georgia as well as in Charlotte, North Carolina. This makes Atlanta and Charlotte the eighth and ninth cities that the self-driving subsidiary currently operates in.