Earlier this month, a woman in San Francisco was hit by a car while crossing the street. Had the story ended there, it would have been just another one of the small tragedies that occur on America’s roads, where roughly 100 people die every day. But this woman’s body ricocheted into another lane of traffic. She was hit again, this time by a robotaxi from the start-up Cruise. The car braked, coming to a stop with her pinned underneath. Then it started driving again, dragging the woman along with it for an agonizing 20 more feet. The woman, whose identity has not been made public, remains in the hospital, in serious condition.
Since driverless cars from Cruise and its competitor Waymo started taking paid passengers in San Francisco this summer, they have been entangled in a series of high-profile hiccups—including a collision with a fire truck and the wrath of protesters, who have placed traffic cones on their cars’ cameras.