General Motors’ driverless vehicle unit, Cruise, has issued a response following an incident involving one of its robotaxis operating in San Francisco. Reports from social media alleged that the self-driving vehicle blocked emergency responders who were trying to aid victims of a mass shooting incident.
As per reports about the incident, nine people were wounded in a mass shooting at San Francisco’s Mission District on Friday night. The incident reportedly happened near the intersection of 24th Street and Treat Avenue. One victim was reportedly in critical conduction, one was in serious conduction, four were in fair condition, and three had been discharged after the incident, authorities noted.
As per a video posted by bystander Paul Valdez on Twitter, one Cruise robotaxi looked like it was stopped in the middle of the street during the incident. A police officer could be heard in the video stating that the car was “blocking emergency, medical, and fire.” The officer, who could be seen walking over to the stopped vehicle and shining a flashlight in its window, also noted, “I gotta get it out of here now.”
In a comment to the Twitter user’s video, Cruise’s official Twitter account shared its support for the shooting incident’s victims. Cruise also clarified that while its robotaxi initially stopped, the vehicle actually performed a U-turn and pulled over. The company also explained that emergency response vehicles were able to proceed around the robotaxi.
“Like all of us in San Francisco, we are saddened by this tragic event in our home city. Our thoughts are with the victims and families, and we wish them all a full recovery. For more context on our vehicle interaction on the scene, read on below. Our car initially stopped as it was approaching an active emergency scene, then proceeded to perform a U-turn and pull over.
“Throughout this time, all vehicles, including emergency response vehicles, were able to proceed around our car. We’re thankful to all our first responders for helping to keep us safe during situations like this and are committed to working collaboratively with them,” Cruise noted.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared to respond to the incident with some alarm, posting an exclamation mark in a comment to a post about the incident. Musk’s post received a response from Cruise CEO and co-founder Kyle Vogt, who also highlighted that at no point did the company’s robotaxi block access to first responders.
“At no point did the Cruise vehicle block access for first responders. Why criticize AVs doing the right thing and staying back + pulling out of the way? Very sad to hear about this tragic incident in SF,” Vogt wrote.
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