Self-Driving Car Crash Under Review
Vehicle safety regulators plan to investigate a crash that involved a self-driving car and resulted in multiple injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s special crash investigation program is set to look into the incident, which happened June 3 in San Francisco, just a day after the General Motors subsidiary had been granted permission to commercialize its fleet of robotaxis in the city.
According to documents filed by Cruise with the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the autonomous vehicle (AV) collided with a Toyota Prius, and occupants of both vehicles received medical treatment for minor injuries.
Cruise’s report of the accident states that the AV was operating in driverless autonomous mode at 11 p.m., traveling eastbound on Geary Boulevard towards the intersection with Spruce Street.
As it approached the intersection, Cruise says the AV entered the left-turn lane, turned the left turn signal on and initiated a left turn on a green light onto Spruce Street. At the same time, a Prius traveling westbound, at approximately 40 mph in a 25 mph speed zone, approached the intersection in the right turn lane.
The Cruise AV came to a stop before fully completing its turn onto Spruce Street due to the oncoming Prius, and the Prius entered the intersection traveling straight from the turn lane instead of turning. Shortly after, the Prius made contact with the rear passenger side of the Cruise AV, causing damage to the right rear door, panel and wheel.
Police and emergency medical services were called, and the AV was towed from the scene.
The NHTSA says its special crash investigations program is used to analyze cases that are “intended to be an anecdotal data set useful for examining special crash circumstances or outcomes from an engineering perspective.”
“NHTSA has not opened a formal investigation into Cruise for this or any other incident,” Cruise stated. “An office within the agency has collected routine information, which we have provided.”
Cruise’s San Francisco operation marks the first time a company has been allowed to run a commercial ride-hailing service without drivers in a major American city.
The launch of the service hasn’t been entirely hitch-free, with a small fleet of the robotaxis recently driving to an intersection and coming to a halt, blocking traffic for several hours.