On the eve of a key vote by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on whether to allow Cruise and Waymo to further expand their autonomous vehicle testing and begin taking paid passengers all over SF, we're getting to see some of the 55 incident reports filed by the SF Fire Department involving AVs.

As Mission Local reports, there have been so many of these reports in recent months, the SFFD gave up calling them Unusual Occurrence reports and created a new file for Autonomous Vehicle Incidents.

SF Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson discussed these 55 incidents at a Monday meeting with the CPUC, and made clear that it is not her department's "job to babysit their vehicles." And the frustration being felt by firefighters is obvious after you hear some of these incidents.

We already knew about the day of the Outer Sunset house explosion, February 9, when a cop had to light a flare and scream "you stay!" at a driverless car, and basically stand in front of it to keep it from driving over an active fire hose.

But Mission Local has obtained the full report from the SFFD on all 55 incidents, and yes, the frustration is real! A couple examples:

On March 21, a fire truck with its lights and siren running passed a driverless Waymo while heading south on Dolores. While the driverless vehicle initially edged to the right enough that the fire truck could pass, it then “appeared to turn sharply” and accelerated toward the rear of the fire truck. “I accelerated to avoid being hit by the driverless vehicle,” wrote the firefighter. The driverless car proceeded to chase him or her off: “The vehicle continued to come all the way over into my lane and appeared to accelerate towards my rear bumper. I then further accelerated to get away from the vehicle as quickly as possible.” ...
On May 4, firefighters at Station 36 in the 1100 block of Mission were unable to respond to a call as they were blockaded within by a driverless vehicle...
On June 5, a Waymo blocked Engine 2 into its station on the 1300 block of Powell. The engine could not pull out, despite a serious “Code 3” call. “The employee from Waymo was flustered and trying to override the car and have it moved,” writes a firefighter. “It took over 2 minutes for the car to finally move.”

So, yes, you can see why Chief Nicholson has come out guns blazing.

Also on the eve of the vote, the New York Times ran a story headlined "San Francisco Balks at Expanding Driverless Car Services on City's Roads." They cite a collision report that has been disputed by Cruise and Waymo saying that there had been some 600 incidents involving AVs stalling, making illegal turns or doing something else.

Cruise has reported 177 rides between January 1 and July 18 in which its vehicle was stuck on the road and had to be removed, and in 26 of those, there was a passenger inside.

The car companies continue to tout the fact that no injuries have been reported, and that their technology is safe.

Previously: Cops, Firefighters, and of Course Taxi Drivers Tee Off on Self-Driving Robotaxis Before Key Regulatory Vote

Image: SF Fire Department