"We send our sincere condolences to the dog’s owner."
The Dog Died
A Waymo self-driving car killed a dog in San Francisco while its "autonomous mode" was turned on last month, an incident that will likely fan the flames of the debate surrounding their use.
The unfortunate collision occurred on May 21 just before 11am, according to DMV paperwork. A Waymo told The Guardian that the car's self-driving system did in fact identify the dog, but thanks to the dog's high speed, the vehicle "was not able to avoid contact."
Interestingly, the human safety driver behind the wheel didn't see the dog, according to TechCrunch.
Waymo was clearly aware of the painful optics, especially considering how its vehicles have already caused chaos on the streets of the Bay Area for quite some time now.
"We send our sincere condolences to the dog’s owner," the Waymo spokesperson told The Guardian. "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."
It's not the only incident to increase pressure on the company. In light of a number of incidents that have plagued the residents of San Francisco involving Waymo's cars — and the self-driving taxis of its competitors — some city officials are now trying to stop a planned expansion of the company's driverless taxi services.
As of right now, Waymo is only allowed to deploy its self-driving taxis outside of the city's densest areas. The company can also only charge fares if a human driver is present between 10pm and 6am.
Despite the chaos, Waymo is pushing ahead and wants to operate its taxis around the clock and throughout the city, efforts that have raised eyebrows among local officials.
2 Fast 2 Autonomous
And it's not just Waymo. Earlier this year, the San Francisco Chronicle released an extensive report of incidents involving Waymo's competitor Cruise, including a driverless vehicle that plowed into an active firefighting scene. Cruise's cars have also been known to block traffic or even fail to follow the directions of traffic control officers.
An investigation by the city's transportation authority found that there were at least "92 unique incidents reported to the City between May 29, and December 31, 2022," involving Cruise autonomous vehicles.
In short, despite years of hype, self-driving cars are having a tough time breaking into the mainstream — and running over a dog isn't exactly going to help their narrative.
More on self-driving taxis: Self-Driving Car Plowed Into Active Fire Scene, Forcing Firefighters to Smash Its Window
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