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Robotaxi has close call with San Francisco bus

A Cruise vehicle drives on the streets of San Francisco in April 2021. | Source: Cruise

A video is gaining attention on Reddit Wednesday that appears to show a San Francisco self-driving Cruise car almost get hit by a bus after getting stuck in SoMa traffic.

According to the Reddit user who filmed the video, the incident happened Tuesday at around 10:28 a.m.

In the video, the driverless vehicle can be seen stuck in the intersection during bumper-to-bumper traffic when the traffic signal turned red at Third and Harrison streets.

After approximately 10 cars passed through the intersection, the automated Cruise car drove itself through the red light and looked as though it was about to be hit by a bus.

A Cruise spokesperson said the vehicle was already in the intersection after becoming struck in gridlocked traffic, was not carrying any passengers and moved to get out of the intersection when the bus was over 90 feet away.

“It moved forward to get out of the intersection and avoid further blockage once there was enough clearance to do so,” Cruise said in an emailed statement to The Standard.

Just saw a Cruise with no driver run a red light from a full stop and almost get t-boned by a bus
by u/BlankSmoke in sanfrancisco

Some Reddit users in the video post’s comments section jokingly wrote that automated vehicles have learned to emulate San Francisco drivers.

“I guess computer cars are just like human drivers after all,” one user commented under the video. “Pretty soon we will see them eating a sandwich while talking on the phone while driving.”

Cruise and Waymo robotaxis’ regulatory approvals in San Francisco were driven back by at least a month by the state regulator. 

A cohort of activists against autonomous vehicles have taken to placing traffic cones on the hoods of Cruise and Waymo robotaxis to stop their forward progress. | Source: Courtesy Safe Street Rebel

The autonomous cab companies were set to get the green light to deploy their driverless vehicles 24/7 in the city at a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting this Thursday, but Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma pulled the agenda items pending further review. Shiroma’s chief of staff, Cheryl Wynn, declined to comment on the move when asked by The Standard on Monday. The commission hearing will now be held Aug. 10.

This is the second time the autonomous driver companies have seen their expansion plans delayed since late June. 

City officials have recently raised the alarm about episodes where self-driving cars have interfered with emergency services or obstructed traffic and public transit. A Waymo car recently killed a dog on a San Francisco street, and a Cruise hit a woman’s dog at an intersection—the dog was not harmed, according to its owner.