Self-Driving Car Hits, Kills Dog In San Francisco

Estimated read time 2 min read

This wasn’t a case of the dog being too small to be detected.

People are shocked, even outraged, by a new report from San Francisco news station KRON 4 that a Waymo self-driving car hit and killed a small dog. The incident, which was just reported on June 11, actually happened back on May 21 but apparently was kept quiet.

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According to the report, the dog “ran in front of a Waymo vehicle” which failed to stop. There was an “autonomous specialist” in the driver’s seat, who also failed to spot the car in time. What’s funny is we’ve been told by a number of rather enthusiastic autonomous driving fans the technology is far superior to humans and our obviously flawed driving skills. This would then lead to a utopian society where car crashes become a thing of the past. So much for that narrative.

The Waymo representative that spoke with KRON said an investigation into the incident has been launched. Initial findings indicate the vehicle’s systems identified the dog as a live animal. In other words, it wasn’t a failure of the sensors to detect the live animal but rather the autonomous system just plain didn’t stop.

Some might call such an action “murder” or at least “manslaughter” even though this was a dog and not a human. Obviously, everyone is going to have an opinion about what happened because it’s dreadful, for sure. We think most people would be shocked if a human saw a dog and yet didn’t take action to avoid hitting and subsequently killing it. 

“We send our sincere condolences to the dog’s owner,” the spokesperson told KRON. “The trust and safety of the communities we are in is the most important thing to us and we’re continuing to look into this on our end.” Translation: please don’t sue.

Image via Pixabay

Steven Symes

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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