Video shows a self-driving Uber running a red light on the day of its launch in San Francisco


A cab driver in San Francisco appears to have caught a self-driving Uber on film running a red light on the first day that the autonomous cars are shuttling passengers around town.


As the San Francisco Examiner first reported, the video shows going through on yellow as the cab stops and the light turns red. A few seconds later, what appears to be a self-driving Uber rolls through the intersection - even as a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk. 

uber red light

An Uber spokesperson acknowledged the incident and said an investigation is under way. 

"Safety is our top priority. This incident has been reported and we are looking into what happened," the spokesperson said in email to Business Insider. 


The alleged red light run comes on the first day of Uber's new pilot program in San Francisco. Uber riders who request an UberX have a chance to be matched with a self-driving vehicle, although there's no way to specifically request one. A trained driver and engineer still have to sit in the front seat and be ready to take over at a moment's notice.

It's unclear whether the car did have self-driving mode engaged at the time it went through the light or whether it was under a human's control. Uber only repeated that they're looking into what happened when asked for comment. 

When I rode in a self-driving Uber on Tuesday as part of a press demo, it wasn't a smooth experience, but the self-driving mode was best described as overly cautious: 

"The experience felt like riding with a 16-year-old just learning to drive: a little jerky and a little uncertain. When one pedestrian entered the left side of the street to cross to a raised bus stop in the middle, it hastily slowed down - unsure whether the human would stop or continue into its path. A more seasoned driver (human or computer) would've kept an eye on the person instead of braking out of an abundance of caution, knowing that the pedestrian might keep walking since the raised pedestrian zone was clearly there.

An abundance of caution was the theme for the ride - which isn't a bad thing given the crazy happenings that define the crowded streets of San Francisco. The car braked early at lights and left a lot of space in between the car in front of it. Unlike impatient humans, it also didn't creep slowly at an intersection waiting for a light to turn green.

Whether the driver was human or a computer, the video shows a very close call between the Uber and a pedestrian and one just hours after its major launch in San Francisco. If the company were to ever get in an accident though, it would remain unreported since the company doesn't believe it should be regulated by the state of California. 

You can watch the full video below: