San Francisco Fire Dept. Decided They Should Smash The Window Of A Cruise Robotaxi. Did They Overdo It?


On Jan 21, SF Fire Dept. crews, worried a Cruise robotaxi was about to drive through their fire scene, smashed in its window. They said it wasn't stopping, and back when Cruise first began one of its cars did drive over a fire hose. Digging into the details though, Cruise said it had stopped after trying to pull over, and did what they expected. So what should it do, and does the fact that that Cruise takes the conservative approach in such situations of stopping and waiting for rescue constitute a big safety problem, or just a teething pain as they test and learn.

I dig into the details in the article at [San Francisco Fire Dept. Decided They Should Smash The Window Of A Cruise Robotaxi. Did They Overdo It?](]


"If the fire crews broke the window of the Cruise well after it had stopped, and it wasn’t interfering with fire operations, the SFFD should apologize".

Nonsense. An item of machinery that has stopped but which could start moving again at any time without warning in an emergency situation is a hazard. Merely by being there the car was interfering with fire operations. The developers should provide some way for a human being to be able to stop an autonomous vehicle from the outside and know that it will stay stopped. If the car developers don't put the equivalent of a "big red button" on the car, then the fire department have every right to break the glass.

The vehicle does say on its display if it has stopped or not, which is in the Cruise training materials, though of course they might not remember that. It also displays the phone number to call. If it was presenting a risk, I could see them not calling the number and being in a rush, but as far as I know it was just stopped on the road heading to the fire, I have not heard a report it was close in to the fire. If you have info on that, let me know.

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