- Firefighters smashed the front window of a Cruise autonomous car to stop it from running over hoses.
- Another Cruise car ran over a fire hose when it was in use at an active fire scene in June 2022.
- The incidents were noted in a letter sent by San Francisco officials to regulators on Wednesday.
San Francisco firefighters smashed the front window of a Cruise driverless taxi to stop it from running over their hoses.
A Cruise autonomous vehicle drove toward fire hoses on the ground in the area of active firefighting on January 21, the city’s transport officials said in a letter to regulators on Wednesday.
“Firefighters on the scene made efforts to prevent the Cruise AV from driving over their hoses and were not able to do so until they shattered a front window of the Cruise AV,” the letter says.
Only Cruise experts can disengage the AV from autonomous mode and immobilize the vehicle, according to a video posted on Cruise’s official YouTube channel. It also says when its cars are in manual mode, they can be placed in park or neutral.
A similar incident occurred in June 2022 when a self-driving Cruise car ran over a fire hose that was in use, the letter says. It also said that driving over a fire hose violates California’s Vehicle Code and can “seriously injure firefighters.”
The letter was sent to California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to requests from self-driving car operators Cruise and Waymo to increase their driverless operations. However, the city recommended that the impact of similar incidents is “likely to expand” if its requests are approved.
The officials warned the Commission that a large number of San Francisco travelers could be affected if it authorized Waymo and Cruise to increase operations.
Driverless taxis currently have permission to operate in certain areas at certain times.
The majority of unplanned travel lane stops by autonomous vehicles reported to them in December involved Cruise cars and not Waymo’s, the city said. They added that the lower number of complaints involving Waymo cars did not reflect “superior Waymo performance” but may reflect fewer driverless vehicle miles traveled.
A Waymo spokesperson told Insider, “These letters are a standard part of the regulatory process, and we have long appreciated a healthy dialogue with city officials and government agencies in California. Waymo will have the opportunity to reply in our submission to the CPUC next week. Beyond that, we look forward to discussing these issues through our continued partnership with public stakeholders.”
Cruise did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside typical working hours.