Self-Driving Car Avoids Hitting Pedestrian

Video clip demonstrates the capability of the vehicle to deliver its automated functionality

Graham Hope

December 15, 2022

3 Min Read


What happens when a pedestrian runs directly in front of a fully driverless robotaxi?

It’s a scenario most passengers would be nervous about encountering. But a video released on Twitter by Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt showed riders in his company’s robotaxis have little to worry about.


The 10-second clip showed an unidentified man in a hoodie deliberately venture onto the road in the path of one of Cruise’s self-driving Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco.

The ill-advised stunt drew the wrath of Vogt, who said: “This kind of thing makes me embarrassed for our species.”

But his tweet was also making a point about the efficiency of the firm’s tech, as the video showed the vehicle immediately coming to a halt safely.

“Credit for avoiding injury goes to this @Cruise AV named Cobbler,” he added.

The General Motors subsidiary has been permitted to charge fares for fully driverless rides in the city since being issued with a permit by the California Public Utilities Commission in June.

And it has attracted some unwelcome headlines over the past six months, with some questioning the readiness of the service after one or two high-profile technical hitches, including the blocking of a street by several cabs in early July.

But Vogt’s clip – which shows the view out of the front window, combined with a digital rendering of what the robotaxi actually sees – demonstrates the capability of the vehicle, which uses radar, lidar and cameras to deliver its automated functionality.

After the Bolt passes through the intersection of Haight and Ashbury, the footage shows the man breaking away from a group of people on the sidewalk and stepping onto the roadway.

But the display of the robotaxi’s operating system illustrates how it adjusted its direction of travel as it identified the threat posed by the intruder on the road, before braking decisively.

It is unclear exactly when the incident happened, but it was nighttime. Cruise is currently only permitted to charge for driverless rides through the night after 10 p.m., although in November the company confirmed that it would be extending its hours of operation in San Francisco to daytime to provide rides for employees.

Cruise has also revealed other plans for expansion in recent months, signaling its intent to start testing a different vehicle in San Francisco, the purpose-built Origin robotaxi that does not have a steering wheel.

And in September Vogt announced that Cruise would also be launching operations in Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas.

It’s believed Cruise’s current San Francisco fleet comprises just under 100 Bolts.

About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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