More than a half dozen robotaxis operated by Cruise stopped running and blocked a street in San Francisco this week, causing a traffic jam that lasted for hours. Cruise employees had to manually drive the robotaxis away from the mysterious robo-jam.
TechCrunch reports that more than half a dozen Cruise robotaxis stopped running and blocked a San Franciso street late on Tuesday night, preventing traffic from moving for hours until employees arrived and manually drove the self-driving vehicles away from the area. In a Reddit post, users described the situation, as well as posting pictures of the incident.
The cars appeared to stall at the intersection of Gough and Fulton Streets in San Francisco. A Cruise spokesperson commented on the issue, stating: “We had an issue earlier this week that caused some of our vehicles to cluster together. While it was resolved and no passengers were impacted, we apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced.”
The issue arises less than a week after Cruise launched its first fully driverless, commercial robotaxi service in the city. Cruise vehicles were designed to operate between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on designated streets without human safety operators behind the wheel.
Twitter users commented on the Reddit post, stating: “The first thing I say to my co-worker is that they’re getting together to murder us. It was a pretty surreal event. Humans had to come and manually take the cars away. Cruise should get fined to shit for blocking the street off for so long. They even made it so the street sweeper couldn’t hit an entire block.”
Breitbart News reported in April that a San Francisco police officer pulled over a car for failing to have its headlights engaged, only to discover that it was a robotaxi with no driver at the wheel.
The car halted for the police but then drove off, crossing an intersection before stopping in front of a Chinese restaurant. Cruise later explained the vehicle was going “to the nearest safe location for the traffic stop as intended.”
The officer and two of his colleagues immediately surrounded the vehicle looking in the windows and shining their flashlights inside. The SFPD then reportedly contacted Cruise which took remote control of the vehicle and no citation was issued.
Experts say that the incident shows that autonomous cars are still not capable of figuring out human-robot interactions. Situations like this are likely to become more common as companies like General Motors spinoff Cruise, Google’s Waymo, and more begin operating self-driving vehicles on California public roads.
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Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org