Waymo confirmed TechCrunch in response to an early claim on Reddit that the self-driving Jaguar I-Pace that hit a pedestrian in San Francisco on Wednesday evening was in manual mode. According to Waymo, the car was in manual mode at the time, which meant the human safety driver behind the wheel was really driving. KWillets, who posted a photo of a Waymo test vehicle parked in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district, recounted the occurrence in a Reddit post. At the site, there is also a fire vehicle and other first responders. The following is an excerpt from KWillets’ post, in which he recalls witnessing the aftermath of the crash:
We heard a bump just as we thought 2021 could not get much worse. I leapt from my bed to check what was wrong. Our neighbors had exited rideshare on the opposite side and one crossed, while the other remained behind, seemingly snapping a photo. When a Waymo passed in the near lane and struck the one who had already crossed, an SFPD patrol stopped to say something to her about being cautious crossing the street (?).
After being aware and standing, the subject was sent to SFGH for a more accurate diagnosis. I hope he is doing well. You might claim there is no such thing as Waymo, but Grandpa and I believe in it. The event was then brought to the attention of the public on Twitter. A Waymo official reacted to a tweet from well-known Tesla devotee Omar Qazi, who tweets as WholeMars Catalog, by saying the car was in manual mode.
Waymo responded to TechCrunch with the following statement: One of our vehicles was engaged in a manual collision on Haight St. midblock between Webster and Buchanan last evening [12/15]. The car collided with a person on the road, it was driven in manual mode.
The pedestrian was treated on the spot for his injuries before being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. We value the confidence and safety of the communities in which we operate, and we will continue to work with local authorities to investigate this occurrence.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles is in charge of regulating self-driving cars in the state. According to a representative for Waymo, the incident happened when the car was on a “manual-only mission,” which means it did not fit the threshold for a reportable collision under the DMV’s AV testing standards.
Waymo, on the other hand, will follow another DMV state requirement that mandates the reporting of all traffic collisions on public roadways that result in injuries or serious property damage. For years, Waymo has been testing its self-driving cars throughout California, mostly in and around Mountain View and San Francisco. Waymo has increased its testing operations in San Francisco, attracting greater attention to autonomous cars in general and the firm in particular.
Waymo, for example, made the local headlines as a constant stream of its self-driving cars continued down the same dead-end street, requiring them to do u-turns. While Waymo does not give official fleet size figures, the firm told TechCrunch that it had “hundreds of vehicles in San Francisco.”
Its activities in San Francisco have expanded in 2021, particularly since August, when the business introduced its Trusted Tester program, which allowed workers and select members of the public to participate in its research program. San Franciscans may use the service to request an autonomous ride in one of Waymo’s all-electric Jaguar I-PACE automobiles. The vehicle still had driven a safety driver.