San Francisco fire chief calls for “pause button” to be pushed on driverless cars

San Francisco’s fire chief has spoken of safety concerns around the growing number of driverless cars being trialled in the city, which have been delaying emergency vehicles.

“I’m not anti-technology. What I am anti is getting in the way of public safety when we’re trying to do our jobs,” San Francisco Fire Department Chief Jeanine Nicholson told NBC Bay Area TV news. “And that’s what’s been happening time and time again.”

The TV station says concerns come a week before state regulators vote on whether to allow autonomous cars to expand their services in San Francisco.

It quotes Ms Nicholson as saying the driverless vehicles are literally getting in her way. The fire department said it has logged nearly 40 incidents with robotaxis since January 1.

“We’ve seen these vehicles run over our hoses and get them caught in the wheel wells,” Nicholson said. “We’ve seen them stop in front of two different fire stations now, blocking our fire engines from getting out to calls.

“I would say please, hit the pause button,” she said.

Waymo and Cruise said they continue to work on refining the vehicles and improving their safety records.

(Picture – Cruise)


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