GM’s autonomous vehicle technology division, Cruise, is in the crosshairs following an incident in San Francisco wherein two of the company’s robotaxis reportedly blocked emergency crews from transporting a patient to the hospital, where the patient later died. The San Francisco Fire Department says that while the delay was minimal, it contributed to the poor patient outcome. Cruise, however, has denied the accusation, saying it has video proof that its robotaxis did not impede emergency vehicles.
According to a recent report from NBC Bay Area, the incident occurred on August 14th around 11 p.m. after a driver hit a pedestrian. The San Francisco Fire Department says that emergency medical services arrived on the scene, but ran into an issue maneuvering around two Cruise robotaxis that were blocking the road. The San Francisco Fire Department states that “this delay, no matter how minimal, contributed to a poor patient outcome,” going on to state that “the fact that Cruise autonomous vehicles continue to block ingress to critical 911 calls is unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, Cruise is pushing back on the San Francisco Fire Department report, saying that video captured by the AVs show the two robotaxis in fact did not obstruct emergency crews.
“Throughout the entire duration the AV is stopped, traffic remains unblocked and flowing to the right of the AV,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement. “The ambulance behind the AV had a clear path to pass the AV as other vehicles, including the ambulance, proceeded to do so. As soon as the victim was loaded into the ambulance, the ambulance left the scene immediately and was never impeded from doing so by the AV.”
Cruise did not release video of the incident, stating that it was proprietary material. However, NBC Bay Area was given access to review a 13 minute video of the incident, and says that it does indeed show what Cruise describes.