Self-Driving Taxi Kills Dog In San Francisco

A self-driving taxi reportedly killed a dog on Toland Street in San Francisco while the car was operating in “autonomous mode” with a test driver present in the front seat.

The collision comes as Waymo seeks to dramatically scale up their robotaxi service. Photograph: Glenn Chapman/AFP/Getty Images

A Waymo self-driving car killed a small dog in San Francisco while in “autonomous mode” last month, the latest in a string of incidents that have led city officials to protest a planned expansion of the company’s driverless taxi services.

The 21 May collision occurred just before 11am on Toland Street in San Francisco as the car was in “autonomous mode” with a test driver in the front seat. A Waymo spokesperson said that an initial review showed that the system correctly identified the dog when it ran out from behind a parked car, but “was not able to avoid contact” due to how fast the canine was moving. The company said it was investigating the matter.

“We send our sincere condolences to the dog’s owner,” the Waymo spokesperson said. “The trust and safety of the communities we are in is the most important thing to us and we’re continuing to look into this on our end.”

The car, a Jaguar, sustained minor damage, according to a California DMV report.

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The collision comes as Waymo, which is owned by the Google parent company, Alphabet, and its competitor, Cruise, seek to dramatically scale up their robotaxi operations throughout the city. Cruise, operated by General Motors, currently has permission to charge fares for driverless taxi rides between 10pm and 6am in some parts of the city, but its cars must avoid the densest downtown areas. Waymo only has authority to charge fares if a safety driver is present in the car.

The Indian government has been asked by a panel formed by the Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to ban diesel-powered four-wheelers by 2027.

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  5. There’s no reason to believe a human driver could have avoided the dog in this instance. In fact, the number of car-wildlife collisions in the U.S. must be considerable. On the other hand, there’s no guarantee the next jaywalker won’t be a child. Great reporting by GGI!

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