Within hours of launching a fleet of its much-anticipated self-driving cars in San Francisco on Wednesday, the effort already hit a glitch when one of the cars ran a red light and almost hit a pedestrian. According to a report in the San Francisco Examiner, these vehicles also have Uber drivers and engineers to take over if something goes wrong. But, in the case of the Uber vehicle that ran the red light, it is not clear why no one took over or hit the brakes.
Two Reports of Red Light Runners
A taxi company’s dashboard camera caught the Uber vehicle running the red light. It shows the cab pulling up to a red light on Third Street in South of Market by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. A pack of cars fly through the yellow light and one even drives through the first moment of the red light. But, three seconds after the light turned red, an Uber self-driving car can be seen traveling through the red light at moderate speed as a pedestrian walks across the intersection on the right side of the intersection.
This was apparently not the only report of an Uber running a red light in San Francisco. Earlier Wednesday, a social media report spotted another self-driving vehicle running a red light near the Marina District of San Francisco. A freelance writer tweeted Wednesday morning that she just passed a self-driving Uber that “lurched into the intersection on Van Ness (Avenue) on a red, nearly hitting my Lyft.”
Self-Driving Vehicles and Safety
Uber apparently launched its self-driving vehicles in California without self-testing permits from the Department of Motor Vehicles saying it did so because there are drivers in the vehicles. The company launched its self-driving vehicles on the streets of San Francisco Wednesday after piloting the program in Pittsburg earlier this year. Several mishaps were reported in that city as well including self-driving vehicles going the wrong way on streets.
Many tech experts are of the opinion that self-driving vehicles are not a matter of “if” but “when.” While this may be true, as auto defect attorneys who represent the rights of injured victims and their families, we strongly believe that these cars should not be on our roadways until they are deemed safe.
They should not be allowed to operate, period. We are not guinea pigs in laboratories that can be used as test subjects for driverless cars. Treating us like lab rats is unacceptable. Moreover, if Uber did have an engineer in their driverless cars in San Francisco, why did that driver fail to stop the vehicle from running a red light? Maybe driverless cars are the way of the future. But in the present, where you and I live, there are not ready for showtime. Unless and until they are safe, they shouldn’t be out there.