Just a week after the deadly Uber crash in Arizona, a self-driving car in San Francisco was ticketed for being too close to a pedestrian, according to KPIX, with a witness capturing a photo of the scene. Cruise, for its part, denies the car was doing anything unsafe, and said it has data to prove it.
Cruise did not immediately return a request for comment from Jalopnik, but according to the version of events it gave KPIX, it says it was a little more than 10 feet away from the pedestrian before the car was ticketed. The car was in self-driving mode until it got pulled over.
A witness, Kevin O’Connor, snapped a photo after seeing the motorcycle officer pull over the self-driving car as O’Connor drove through the South of Market area last week. “There was another car stopped alongside and he looked a little befuddled,” said O’Connor. “The cop was just writing a regular ticket like they always do.”
According to data collected by Cruise, the pedestrian was 10.8 feet away from the car when, while the car was in self-driving mode, it began to continue down Harrison at 14th St. Shortly after the car accelerated, the officer pulled it over.
In a statement, Cruise said, “Safety is our priority in testing our self-driving vehicles. California law requires the vehicle to yield the right of way to pedestrians, allowing them to proceed undisturbed and unhurried without fear of interference of their safe passage through an intersection. Our data indicates that’s what happened here.”
No one got hurt in the incident, though Cruise says the operator of this specific Cruise is now responsible for the ticket. It’s a strange world we’re entering. As this scenario plays out more frequently as self-driving cars become more common, we will soon have to answer the question of who, exactly, should be responsible for traffic tickets incurred by self-driving cars. The manufacturer? The car’s owner? The car’s driver? Maybe all three?
Updated, 7:32 p.m.: A Cruise spokesperson clarified that the ticket was a week after the Uber crash, not a day after, as the KPIX broadcast originally said. The story has been updated.