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Waymo says test vehicle was in manual mode when it hit a pedestrian in San Francisco

According to a post on Reddit, a Waymo Autonomous vehicle hit a pedestrian in San Francisco on Wednesday night. A spokesperson for the Alphabet-owned company confirmed the incident on Twitter but clarified that the vehicle was in manual mode at the time of the collision.

The incident happened in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco, where Waymo has been testing its vehicles since last summer. Reddit user KWillets, who claims to have witnessed the collision, posted a photo of a Waymo vehicle stalled in the middle of the road with the driver-side door open. A fire engine is standing next to it, while several firefighters and people standing in front of the vehicle are standing. According to Cavalets:

Just when we thought 2021 couldn't get worse, we heard a rumble. I jumped out of my bed to see what was the matter.

Our neighbors had part of a ride on the far side and one had passed while the other was left behind to take a picture. An SFPD patrol stopped him to say something about caution crossing the road (?), when a Waymo passed through a nearby alley and hit someone who had already passed, as in I feel. that he came back. The victim was conscious and later stood up, but went to SFGH for a more accurate diagnosis. Hope he is fine.

You might say there's no such thing as a Waymo, but for me and Grandpa, we believe.

When asked by a commenter whether the man killed was jaywalking, Cavilets clarified some details: “They both came out somewhere in the upper left. One crossed to the right for several seconds, but apparently came back and was poisoned. Ironically, the other did not cross, but was hit by a patrol car. ,

When contacted by The Verge, Kevillets said he only "heard" the incident and then replayed it on closed-circuit television.

"I'm fine with testing," says KWillets, when asked about autonomous vehicle companies using San Francisco as a proving ground, "but the SFMTA encourages fast and reckless driving on our block. I had already complained about the bad signal timing and the drivers running the lights."

The incident was raised by a Tesla fan, Omar Kazi, who tweets under halmarsblog. Responding to Kazi's tweet, Waymo spokeswoman Catherine Barna said, "We are aware of an incident involving a Waymo vehicle that was driven in manual mode, and the investigation is ongoing in partnership with local authorities."

In a follow-up email, Barna said Webster and Buchanan had a collision on Haight Street. "The pedestrian was treated on the spot and taken to the hospital in an ambulance," Barna said. "The trust and safety of the communities in which we drive is of paramount importance to us, and we will continue to investigate this incident in partnership with local authorities."

A spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department sent questions to the city's police department. The SFPD said in a statement that a 33-year-old pedestrian was on the road when officers arrived at the scene. The Waymo safety driver, a 37-year-old male, was also present and cooperated with investigators.

"The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries," the SFPD said in an email to The Verge. "The cause of the collision is being investigated. At this time investigators do not believe that alcohol/harm was the cause of the collision. No arrests have been made in this incident."

AV operators are required to report accident incidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, which oversees AV testing in the state. The department recently suspended the license of AV startup after one of its vehicles was involved in a single-vehicle accident in autonomous mode.

Waymo has a better safety record than most AV companies, but the company has still been involved in several incidents. Last year, Waymo published driving data of 6.1 million miles in Arizona in 2019 and 2020, including 18 crashes and 29 near-miss collisions. In incidents where its safety operators took control of the vehicle to avoid a crash, Waymo engineers simulated what would happen if the driver had not turned off the vehicle's self-driving system to make it counterfactual. The company has also made some of its data available to academic researchers.

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