By Jackie Ward

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A self-driving car was slapped with a ticket after police said it got too close to a pedestrian on a San Francisco street.

The self-driving car owned by San Francisco-based Cruise was pulled over for not yielding to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Cruise says its data shows the person was far away enough from the vehicle and the car did nothing wrong.

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.

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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.”

The pedestrian involved didn’t get hurt. It happened a week after an Uber car in self-driving mode hit and killed a woman crossing the street, outside a crosswalk, in Tempe, Arizona.

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It’s incidents like these that make people like O’Connor skeptical about whether self-driving cars will ever be safe enough.

“To me, it’s almost impossible. I just don’t see it happening unless every car was autonomous,” he said.

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The company claims the human test driver did everything right but is now responsible for the citation. San Francisco police did not immediately respond to a KPIX inquiry about the incident.


Comments (112)
  1. bdnsc says:

    Soooo…..How does the car know to pull over?

    And just for the record, if 10.8 feet is too close, side walks need to be moved away from the street!

  2. beefrank says:

    This idea is dead. Lets perfect self-driving trains and trolleys first.

  3. Eleven feet is an entire lane away. I’d trust the tech over the cops eyeballing distances.

  4. Shows how much subjectivity goes into an officer’s decision on whether an infraction’s occurred. Is there video from the car?

  5. Cheryl Anne says:

    I think self-driving cars that get tickets should be fined/punished by AI.

  6. Give driver less car ticket and let illegal aliens can break laws without tickets. Californication.

  7. I’d have to check but I was under the impression that a motor vehicle could not enter a crosswalk if there was a pedestrian in the crosswalk. Someone who now knows what current California law has to say can respond. Honestly I have not driven in California for a long time and don’t intend to any time in the future.

  8. Porker pig cop do nuttin’s in Sin Freak Sicko need to go get a job .

  9. laserguidedloogie says:

    Let’s face it, the cop just wanted to pull over the self-driving car just so he could say he did it. That’s got to be worth some minor bragging rights down at the station.

  10. JW Salthouse says:

    The reporter says “the Police” (plural) disagree. It is quite common for individual officers to issue tickets outside the law because they are human and fallible and often ignorant of the law. When I lived in California we got tickets for speeding to protect the life of the motorcycle officer and a parking ticket for not parking AND on a day not included in the 2 days out of the month no parking rule!

  11. Steve Hollar says:

    We mere humans are required to stop for anyone anywhere within a crosswalk. Obviously these self-driving cars are not programmed to act like us lowly mortals. Hope this whole experiment collapses and goes away. Geesh, can you imagine the mess we’ll have when there are thousands of flying cars?

  12. Ban self driving cars before more people die.

    1. ben (@neaon) says:

      This is the wrong tactic. Self-driving cars will absolutely eliminate 90-95% of road-related deaths when universally adopted – the problem is the elimination of millions of jobs, complete loss of personal freedom, ability of LEO to just force stop cars with no justification, advertising, etc, as well as the other damaging impacts of A.I. on humanity. Self-driving cars should be stopped, but you’ll need to take a better path to help than appealing to people’s death on the road.

  13. ben (@neaon) says:

    Cops are just cash generators for the city at this point, the vast majority are just meter maids. I hope you idiots are glad you got into the business of raising money to pay for homeless people camping out in the sidewalk. Idiots. Coincidentally, THIS Is what cities always say they need more funds to hire more cops for! To hand out chicken-s1ht tickets. Way to go

  14. :POS Public Sector “Revenuers” are the real enemy of America. They don’t protect anyone but themselves and their families at huge cost to unborn Americans who haven’t given them consent..

    The ctrl-left wants to destroy America.

  15. I take it the car wasn’t wearing a low-cut bra and didn’t flash its headlights coquettishly at the officer, suggesting a they work out a “deal” to avoid the ticket?

  16. CORRECTION: The cop didn’t “pull the car over.” He directed the car to stop in the bike line. The cop is standing in the bike lane and preventing people who bike from getting by. He could have easily asked the guy to pull over somewhere else. Shows how much SFPD cares about people who bike.